There can be no doubt we are seeing a rejuvenation of the light commercial vehicle market this year probably reflecting the way in which the economy is starting to emerge from the doldrums of the last 12 – 18 months due to COVID. Its fair to say the light commercial vehicle market in general did not do too badly compared to many other sectors during last year as parcel delivery and supermarkets expanded their ‘at home shopping’ offers resulting in large orders for vans across the board. But just how good is 2021 compared to 2020? The figures give us all a great indication !
April to April Comparison
This April recorded its busiest ever April as 30,440 new vans were registered, according to the latest figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) although there are many reasons behind this abnormal growth. April last year was the first month under lockdown conditions and the market effectively ‘shut down’ as can be seen by looking at the figures below with just 361 small vans and 271 pickups registered in that month. Jump forward to this April and we see 4,125 and 4,134 registered in these sectors respectively. Percentage wise the greatest jump was in 4×4 commercials going from just 5 ( yes 5!) units registered in April 2020 to 549 this year, a growth of 10,880%! The large vans sectors also increased but not as dramatically as these vans are the backbone of many parcel delivery and supermarket purchases throughout the year but they still increased by 674% from 2,588 to 20,037 units, and overall the van was sector up 799%.
Year to Date
Whilst the year to date figures aren’t understandably as dramatic the whole LCV sector was up 79.3% year on year and without doubt the three sectors forging ahead percentage wise are the 4×4 commercials up 216%, medium vans up 97.4% and pickups which appear to be enjoying a renaissance up 75.4%. By far the largest sector remains the large van segment which accounts for over 60% of all vans sales with medium vans the next most popular sector.
Growth was primarily driven by a sustained increase in larger van acquisition, with vans weighing more than 2.5-3.5 tonnes accounting for 20,037 registrations. So far in 2021, heavy van registrations have almost doubled compared to the same period in 2020, up to 84,374 compared with 42,749 recorded in the first four months of last year. As a result, SMMT’s latest outlook for the sector forecasts that around 369,000 vans will be registered in 2021.
“Businesses are investing in new vehicles as they grow in confidence, driven by a more positive economic outlook stimulated by the vaccine rollout. There has been particular uplift in larger van uptake, both from established demand in home delivery, but also more broadly as other sectors emerge from lockdown looking to maximise their payload efficiency. With a fragile supply chain still subject to risk of disruption and ongoing Covid restrictions, there is some way to go before we can say business is back to normal, but after a very difficult year, the outlook is much brighter.” says Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive
Best Sellers for April 2021 and year to date
It appears the dye has been cast for the best selling vans in the UK already, with all the top ten best selling vans for the month of April and for the year to date the same. Indeed the top five vans are in exactly the same order with the Ford Transit Custom consistently selling the most throughout the year with 18,898 units to date and 4,581 units last month and its followed by its ‘stable mate’ the Ford Transit! The bottom half is dominated by the PSA Group with Peugeot, Citroen and Vauxhall all having models in the top ten in April and throughout the year.