New van registrations soar in August

New light commercial vehicle (LCV) registrations jumped by 41% year-on-year, with regulatory changes and retail deals fuelling growth, according to new figures.

Figures compiled the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show particularly strong growth for small vans weighing less than 2.0 tonnes – registrations were up 52.5% compared to August 2018. Medium vans weighing 2.0-2.5 tonnes and large vans, weighing 2.5-3.5 tonnes also registered strong growth up 33.1% and 46.8% respectively.

However, the decline in 4×4 registrations continued, with demand down by 34.7% in August. Likewise demand for rigids weighing 3.5-6 tonnes also declined significantly, by 27.2% – 449 registrations compared to 618 in 2017.

Both those are the only types of LCV to see sales decline in the year to date compared to 2018. Rigids are down by 19.4% year-on-year, while 4x4s have sold 8.3% fewer.

But the overall growth continues the trend seen in every month of this year so far. In all, there were 23,120 new vehicles registered in August for use on UK roads. The SMMT put this growth down to operators responding to regulatory changes and taking advantage of some compelling deals on the latest models available in what is usually one of the year’s quieter months. In the year-to-date the market is up 11.3% to 245,400 units.

In terms of individual models, the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter was top seller in August, with 3,104 sold, deposing the biggest seller of the year, the Ford Transit Custom (3,074). The Ford Transit was third biggest seller (2,118), followed by the Volkswagen Transporter (1,560) and Renault Trafic (1,118).

In the year to date, the Ford Transit Custom has still sold nearly double its closest rival. It has shifted 37,763 units, compared to the Ford Transit’s 19,605. The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is the third biggest seller with 17,543, followed by the Volkswagen Transporter (13,499) and Ford Ranger (10,278).

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT, said that another month of growth for the new van market was “welcome news” for the automotive sector. “It is important to remember, however, that any percentage increase will be on a much smaller volume market in August given it is arguably the quietest month of the year. Buyers continue to take advantage of deals on the latest and cleanest commercial vehicles on the market and it is important the business environment remains strong.”

Dan Parton
Dan Parton
Dan Parton is a freelance journalist and former editor of Truck & Driver, the UK's biggest selling truck magazine. He writes for both The Van Expert and The Truck Expert.

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