LCV registrations down 11 per cent in November

SMMT figures show that new light commercial vehicle (LCV) registrations experienced a double-digit decline in November. The market fell -11.1 per cent, with 26,486 new vans and pick-ups registered – the third consecutive monthly fall.

All segments experienced declines, with demand for smaller vans falling the most, down -21.7 per cent. Pick-ups were next, down -14.4 per cent, followed by 4x4s, larger vans, and vans weighing 2.0T-2.5T, which dropped -10.0 per cent, -9.4 per cent, and -8.9 per cent respectively. Year-to-date, the LCV market has fallen -4.1 per cent with 334,133 new vans joining UK roads, broadly in line with expectations.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “While the market decline is worrying, it remains at an historically high level. Nevertheless, economic and political uncertainty continues to affect business confidence and with it new van purchasing patterns which is damaging, both for the market and for efforts to improve air quality. Getting more of the latest, Euro 6 LCVs onto our roads is the fastest way to reduce emissions so, to avoid a prolonged downturn, it is vital that government works to restore the conditions that give operators confidence to invest in their fleets.”

NFDA comments on LCV segments

Sue Robinson, director of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle retailers in the UK, commented on the latest SMMT’s light commercial vehicle registration figures: “While the decline in registrations of new light vans confirms that uncertainty continues to affect businesses and consumers, the new light commercial vehicle market remains at high levels.”

The pick-ups segment remains up on last year by 7.9 per cnet. November’s decline of these dual-purpose vans reflects the current lack of consumer confidence as they tend to be purchased not only by tradespeople but also as family vehicles. On a positive note, this remains the third largest segment in volume terms with 43,875 units registered year to date.

Both small vans up to 2 tonnes and medium vans between 2 – 2.5 tonnes decreased by -8.9 per cent. Both these types of vans are usually purchased by self-employed professionals, including tradespeople and service engineers. Year to date, they are now respectively -20.3 per cent down and 3.0 per cent up on 2016’s results.

Following last month’s decrease, heavy light commercials between 2.5 and 3.5 tonnes saw another decline of -9.4 per cent. This can be seen as a cause of concern as heavy vans are purchased by fleets and corporate buyers and their sales usually reflect the general economic situation of the country.

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