New van market picks up to record levels

One per cent boost marks four years of growth.

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Ford-Custom-Transit
The Ford Transit Custom and its sister Transit van dominated the market.

The UK new van market has matched the car market with record registrations in 2016.

A total of 375,687 light commercial vehicles were registered during the year, up only one per cent on 2015 but representing four continuous years of growth in the market.

The figures were achieved despite December becoming the fourth month of 2016 to see slipping sales. The market slumped by more than 10 per cent, but with 27,239 vehicles registered it was still the second-biggest December total on record.

According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT), that compiles the registration figures, pick-ups led the 2016 new van market, registrations soaring by 17.6 per cent to 47,715 vehicles.

Rolling-year-van-sales
The new van market is continuing to grow strongly year-on-year.

The largest sector of the market, vans of 2.5 to 3.5 tonnes, grew by 4.8 per cent over the year with 232,948 registrations. However the smaller 2.0 to 2.5-tonne sector declined 2.5 per cent to 53,787, and sub 2.0-tonne vehicles slipped back 14.2 per cent to 36,918.

Top ten winners

Ford continues to dominate the new van market and the top-ten vehicle list, published for the first time by the SMMT, is headed by the Transit Custom and its sister the Transit at 49,744 and 29,965 registrations respectively in 2016.

Third is the UK-built Vauxhall Vivaro on 22,791, then the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter (21,966) and Volkswagen Transporter (21,526).

SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes describes the 2016 light commercial results as great news, even with marginal growth, underlining the fundamental strength of the sector.

However Hawes continues to sound a Brexit-themed warning. “To ensure future fleet investment and growth in this important market, buyers – and manufacturers – are looking for a strong economy and business environment,” he says.

New-van-top-10
Ford heads the new van top ten just as it does the car equivalent.
Andrew Charman

Andrew is the News and Road Test Editor for The Van Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.