Van sales were up 22% in February 2021, which took the market a little by surprise as February is usually a ‘quiet’ month as people hold back on registering their new van waiting for the March number plate change.
In fact looking back through the historical records you have to go back as far as February 1998 to find a better set of figures with 17,205 new light commercial vehicles going on UK roads as demand from the construction sector and online deliveries drove new vehicle uptake.
Which sector faired best ?
It was the 2.5 to 3.5 tonne sector along with pickups that experienced the biggest uplift in demand, up 30.0% to 11,809 and 26.8% to 1,716 units respectively. Meanwhile 4x4s and vans in the 2 to 2.5 tonne sector registrations were up by a moderate 6.3% and 9.0%. It was a different picture for smaller vans weighing less than or equal to 2.0 tonnes, which were down -25.3% to just 689 vehicles registered in the month.
Performance in the year-to-date is up 9.5% overall, driven mostly by demand for larger 2.5-3.5t vans with 6,069 more of these vans registered in the first two months of the year. However, the rest of the market continued to fall, struggling to overcome the ongoing impact of Covid on business confidence.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “These figures are welcome news, but it’s important to remember that February is typically a small volume month ahead of the March plate change and we want to see this growth continue throughout the year. Capitalising on this momentum will be important and an economic plan that encourages growth could help pivot the LCV market toward full recovery. With a clear roadmap now in place for how the nation can safely emerge out of lockdown, businesses can look to the next few months with increasing confidence and upgrade their fleets with the many latest, most efficient vans on the market.”
What are the leading models?
As can be seen above Ford Transit and the Ford Transit Custom dominate the market in both February’s and the year to date figures, although it has to be said we are only eight weeks into the new year. The Sprinter appears to have cemented its position has the UK’s third most popular van and then perhaps the most interesting observation is the continued growth the ‘PSA brands’. If we look at the year to date figures we find that the PSA Group products of the Peugeot Partner, Vauxhall Vivaro, Vauxhall Combo and Citroen Berlingo, which are all in the top ten, account for over 7,000 unit sales.