“Light commercial registrations rose 22% in February compared with the same month in 2020, as orders placed by many large fleet operators a few months ago supported the market”, said Sue Robinson, Chief Executive of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) which represents franchised commercial vehicle dealers in the UK, commenting on the latest SMMT’s light van market registration figures.
The increase in LCV registrations was primarily driven by large light commercials (weighing more than 2.5-3.5 tonnes) as these vehicles are generally used to deliver goods bought online, a market that saw a significant boost during the pandemic.
Although van showrooms have been closed to retail customers over the last two months, a significant proportion of commercial vehicles sales are generally transacted through the phone and online, which allowed businesses to flourish despite the restrictions affecting physical premises.
Whilst the maximum weight LCVs (heavier than 2.5-3.5 tonnes) saw 11,809 units registered in February, 30.0% more than the same time last year, other segments performed worse, with lightweight vans under 2.0 tonnes experiencing a decline of -25.3%. These car-derived vans are often used as service vehicles that are currently not seeing particularly buoyant business levels.
Although small in volume terms for the month, the pick-up market grew by 26.8%. This is despite the fact that many of these vehicles are acquired for both business and domestic purposes and, as a result, a number of customers may have delayed their registration until the March plate change, indicating that the upward trend could continue.
The Ford Transit and Transit Custom models continued to lead the registrations as they have been doing since January, followed in third position by the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.
Sue Robinson added: “Overall, dealers are confident that market demand for LCVs will remain robust provided that no external factors will affect the supply of new products”.
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.