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Van market stabilises in March

NFDA 05/04/2017

“Light commercial registrations under 3.5 tonnes were down -0.9% in March - and the same year to date for the first quarter of 2017”, said Sue Robinson, Director of the National Franchised Dealers Association which represents commercial vehicle and franchised car retailers across the UK, commenting on the SMMT’s light commercial vehicle registration figures.

In 2016 light commercial registrations hit an all-time high, so a market stabilisation of less than 1% was expected with the current concerns over currency devaluation and the growth of the economy.

The most significant growth came from the 2.5 - 3.5t sector which continued to grow 3.6% in March and 3.3% for the first quarter. This sector accounted for around 60% of all registrations, indicating that the industrial corporate fleet market is still confident and robust.

Mid-size vans of 2.0-2.5t suffered a modest decline of -4% in March, however were only down -½% in the first quarter. Vans under 2t showed the largest decline by -31.6% and were down by -27.7% for the year to date. This sector is often used by the service industries as repair vans.

So far this year, there has been a huge expansion in demand for pick-up trucks with March recording growth of 23% and the first quarter showing similar growth at 21.7% - we are unsure what is driving this market this year.

Best-selling models for March were the Transit Custom, followed by the VW T6 Transporter and Ford Transit commercial. The top selling manufacturers were Ford followed by Volkswagen and Peugeot.

Mercedes vans recorded a market growth of 7.7% in March and 5.5% in the first three months of this year.

Robinson continues, “Whilst there is a level of uncertainty in the light CV market, most dealers expect it to remain stable and close to last year’s volumes.”

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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.