The UK new light commercial vehicle market recorded a record first half of the year, registering its sixth consecutive month of growth in June, with registrations up by more than 13%, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
In the month demand for smaller vans weighing less than 2.0 tonnes rose 10% while registrations of larger vans weighing 2.5-3.5 tonnes were up too, rising 22%.
However, growth in demand for pickups and 4x4s slowed again, registrations down about 1% and 22% respectively, and the market for medium-sized vans weighing 2.0-2.5 tonnes also posted a fall, declining by just under 4%.
In the first six months of 2019, the LCV market was remarkably strong, up almost 9% and ahead of expectations. In all, 196,418 new vans were registered on UK roads – 15,722 more than in the same period last year. Except for 4x4s, sales volumes of which are relatively small, all segments posted healthy rises with the strongest growth seen in demand for larger vans weighing 2.5 to 3.5 tonnes.
As usual, the Ford Transit Custom was the most popular LCV under 3.5 tonnes in June, shifting double the number of units of its nearest competitor, the larger Ford Transit – 7,005 units to 3,407. The Mercedez-Benz Sprinter (2,799 units), Volkswagen Transporter (2,242) and Ford Ranger (1,883) rounded out the top five biggest sellers of the month.
In the year to date, the top five is the same as for June. The Ford Transit Custom sold 30,891 units in the first half of the year.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “With many light commercial vehicles playing a crucial role in urban areas, getting more of the latest, cleanest and most fuel-efficient models on to our roads is essential to help improve air quality – so it’s good news to see the UK van market performing so well.
“However, it’s important to remember that purchasing patterns are cyclical and for this trend to continue we need business confidence to improve and political uncertainty to end with a good Brexit deal.”