UK Van Market Achieves Record February Sales Since 1998

The UK's demand for new light commercial vehicles (LCVs) has seen a remarkable uptick, with February 2024 registrations climbing by 2.2% to reach 17,934 units. This surge marks the strongest February performance in the sector since 1998, illustrating a robust appetite for vans across the nation. This trend underscores 14 consecutive months of growth, highlighting the enduring strength of the UK van market amidst fluctuating economic conditions.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) unveiled these latest figures, noting the sustained popularity of large vans. With registrations of vans weighing between 2.5 to 3.5 tonnes increasing by 1.4% to 12,300 units, large vehicles constitute nearly seven in ten of all new vans. This shift towards larger models reflects a growing trend in the market, even as the demand for medium and small-sized vans saw a downturn, declining by -5.9% and -20.5% respectively.

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Published on
March 5, 2024

The rise in van registrations is not uniform across all segments. The smaller volume 4x4 sector experienced a significant boost, with registrations more than doubling – a 108.3% increase. Pickups, integral to various rural and construction businesses, emerged as the third most popular vehicle class. Their registrations saw a noteworthy rise of 21.2%, propelled by recent tax revisions favouring double cab pick-up vehicles. These changes underscore the government's commitment to fleet renewal and decarbonisation efforts.

Despite the overall growth, the uptake of battery electric vans presented a mixed picture. February witnessed a decrease in electric van registrations, dropping by 12.3% to 847 units and accounting for a 4.7% market share. This decline from a 5.5% share a year ago raises questions about the challenges facing the transition to zero-emission vehicles. The sector calls for sustained purchase incentives and a faster rollout of van-specific charging infrastructure to meet net-zero targets.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, expressed optimism about the future of the van market, attributing the sustained growth to Britain's unwavering demand for new vans. He emphasized the need for continued investment in zero-emission vehicles and infrastructure to achieve the UK's environmental goals, stating, "Maintenance of essential incentives and a ramp-up of dedicated van-suitable chargepoint installation will be vital."

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