Van registrations continue to break records

The UK light commercial market continues to break records with 29,354 vans registered in May, according to the latest figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). The market was up 4.7% on pre COVID levels and makes it the best May performance on record for the LCV market and offers, perhaps, an insight into the growth in confidence of the business sector as it ramps up its return to hopefully a more ‘open’ and buoyant economy.

Interestingly, registrations grew across all vehicle segments with the total number of units quadrupling on last year’s lockdown-impacted figures and registrations for the larger 2.5-3.5 tonne vans were the main reason for the increase with just under 20,000 units representing two thirds of all registrations.

May 2021 Registrations

May 2021 Van Registrations

In percentage terms commercial 4×4’s again are one of the top winners, up 1435%, but as can be seen the numbers are low, after that pickups lead the way in percentage terms with an increase of 382% and the sub two tonne van sector with an increase of 295%. But all these pale into insignificance when looking at pure registrations with 19,687 vans in the 2.5 to 3.5 tonne GVW sector registered in one month compared to next biggest sector at 2-2.5 tonne GVW of 3,955 units.

Year To Date

May 2021 Van YTD Registrations

As far as the year to date figures are concerned, 157,150 vans have been registered so far in 2021, performance year to date is the highest on record, almost double what it was in 2020 (up 99.3%), and up 4.0% on a pre-pandemic five-year average. Once again the 2.5-3.5 tonne GVW sector leads the way with 104,061 registrations and quickly establishing its dominance as the major sector in the industry.

Winners and Losers

May 2021 Van Best sellers

The best selling vans continue to be the Ford Transit Custom and Ford Transit, the Volkswagen Transporter holding a slender lead over the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter in the year to date figures. Interestingly, the Vauxhall Vivaro pushed the Sprinter into fourth place this month and the Ford Ranger continues to fly the flag for the pickup sector holding a very credible fifth place year to date.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “May’s figures are welcome news, suggesting Britain’s additional reliance on commercial vehicles is a long-term shift rather than a lockdown stopgap. As the nationwide vaccination rollout continues at pace, maintaining business confidence is essential for the LCV market. However, to counter the environmental impact accompanying increased demand, we need to incentivise some 4.6 million van users and operators alike to make the switch to zero-emission capable technologies. This starts with plans for a nationwide charging infrastructure that can support the diverse needs of the commercial vehicle sector.” 

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