“The Light Commercial Vehicle market continues to perform strongly after a tenth consecutive month of growth, the figures published today showing growth is now above pre-pandemic 2019 levels,” said Sue Robinson, Chief Executive of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle retailers in the UK commenting on the latest SMMT’s new van registration figures.
In October, Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV) dealers registered a total of 26,342 new vans and light commercials, an increase of 17.7%. This is the tenth consecutive month of registration growth. Year-to-date figures reveal 284,321 new LCVs are on the road this year, an increase of 20.5%. Year-to-date growth is now 3.8% above pre-pandemic, due to better vehicle availability from manufacturers and dealers.
The heavier sectors of LCVs have improved substantially, with 2.0-2.5t sized vans rising to 3,801 units from 1,844 units, a staggering 106.1% increase. The heavier, and most popular sized vans (2.5-3.5t) are the lifeblood of distribution, representing 69% of all light commercials registered, and recorded a 5.3% increase in October, to 18,176 units from 17,263 units.
Although a smaller market, 4x4 experienced strong growth year-on-year, with 615 units on the road compared to last year’s 381 units, a 61.4% increase.
October’s registration figures experienced a decrease in the number of battery electric commercials registered, down -20.2% to 1,362 units. Whilst the volume for EV vans has increased to 15,658 units this year (19.8% change year to date), it still only represents 5.5% of the market of the total market share.
Sue Robinson added: “It is encouraging to see the resiliency of the LCV market with continued growth, indicating the easing of supply chain disruptions. However, it is disappointing to see that the potential of the electric market remains untapped with anticipated BEV registrations having been cut by -9.0% on the previous outlook to 21,000 units. Despite the fact that in 2023 to date, BEV demand has risen by 19.8%.
“The upcoming Autumn Statement provides a real opportunity for the Government to address electric van-specific infrastructure such as charging points, particularly with the Zero Emission Vehicle Mandate coming into effect in less than two months and incentives to encourage consumers to make the switch. Van operators do not buy with environmental sentiments as their first priority, but for business viability and product competitive pricing. It is imperative that the government tackles these barriers to stimulate growth in the electric van market.”
About the RMI
The Retail Motor Industry represents the interests of operators in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man providing sales and services to motorists and businesses. The RMI has a formal association with the independent Scottish Motor Trade Association which represents the retail motor industry in Scotland.