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Van sales down 6.1 percent in September

NFDA 04/10/2018

“Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV) registrations decreased –6.1% during the plate-change month, compared to the same period last year”, 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.

Following record highs in 2015 and 2016, registrations in the 2.5 – 3.5t sector registered 34,473 vehicles, which was only down -4%. The pick-up market continued to grow by 8.8% making this sector of vehicles the second largest with 9,625 registrations in September. This is partly down to ‘benefit-in-kind tax’ as the pick-up market, particularly double-cabs, is the strongest in Europe and many of these vehicles are used for dual purposes, both for business and personal use by self-employed and small businesses.

The most significant decline came from the smaller van sector up to 2t. This may have been caused by the recent Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) emission standards which came into effect in September. Although these new regulations were enforced primarily for cars, some smaller vans that are car-derived were affected, and therefore some dealers will have had to pre-register these vehicles in August in order to sell zero-mileage used vans this month. The WLTP regulations do not come into force on larger commercials until September 2019.

The best-selling van of the month was the new Transit Custom from Ford, and has accounted for over 15% of all light commercials sold in the UK this year.

Robinson continues, “Dealers continue to advise us that the market is very buoyant and factors such as the economy or mixed messages over diesel do not seem to be having a negative impact on sales. Overall it is expected the market will stabilise and be in line with this year’s expectations.”


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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.