October LCV sales down 7.4%

The new light commercial vehicle (LCV) market declined in October, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). 24,968 new LCVs joined British roads last month, a -7.4  per cent fall compared with the same month last year.

Demand for pick-ups remained stable, with registrations growing 0.5 per cent. However, it was a different picture across all the van segments, with demand for smaller vans, vehicles weighing 2.0-2.5T, and large vans falling -20.2 per cent, -14.6 per cent and -5.2 per cent respectively.

Overall year-to-date figures saw a decline of -3.5 per cent on 2016, with 307,647 registrations. Although the van market remains at a very high level, a recent decline in business confidence caused by ongoing political and economic uncertainty has resulted in further declines in the market, causing SMMT to revise its new van forecast for 2017, predicting a decline of -2.8 per cent this year over 2016.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “Following the recent revision to the new van forecast, this month’s decline is not unexpected. While the market remains at a very high level, the recent decline in business confidence, caused by economic and political uncertainty, is now having an impact on van registrations. Government must therefore address these concerns and create the conditions necessary for the market to prosper.”

Sue Robinson, of the NFDA, was cautiously optimistic, saying: “Despite this decline, the light commercial vehicle market remains at high levels and, as the industry expected, year to date it is only slightly down on last year’s record performance.”

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