UK new van registrations up 2.4 per cent in 2019 as market finishes year on a high

UK new light commercial vehicle (LCV) registrations returned to growth in December, following three months of decline, according to the latest figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). The market grew +7.8 per cent in December as the impact of regulatory changes eased and attractive offers on new models helped stimulate orders with only pickups experiencing a fall in demand.

December rounded off a solid annual performance for LCVs, with full year registrations up +2.4 per cent as 365,778 new models hit UK roads. This was the third highest total on record, with growth coming despite political and economic uncertainty for much of the year, and reflecting buyers keen to switch to the latest low emission models to comply with clean air zone requirements and meet demand brought about by the rise of online shopping and corresponding deliveries.

All van segments saw growth during 2019, with small vans weighing less than 2.0 tonnes up +4.4 per cent, medium vans weighing 2.0-2.5 tonnes up +10.5 per cent and larger vans weighing 2.5-3.5 tonnes up +1.2 per cent. Demand for new pickups and 4x4s, however, fell, down -1.0 per cent and -9.7 per cent respectively but the combined loss represented just 733 units.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “A healthy van market is good news for the industry, environment and exchequer and so the rise in 2019 registrations is very welcome. As we enter a new decade, however, we need this upward trend to continue if we are to address environmental concerns. The quicker these new vehicles become commonplace, the quicker their positive impact on air quality and climate change will be felt.

“Manufacturers will continue to invest in new, cleaner technologies but, ultimately, it is businesses that will determine the pace of change. Business positivity is essential to give companies the confidence to invest in their fleets.”

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