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August van registrations remain stable but supply concerns emerge

NFDA 06/09/2021

“August showed a surprising 6.1% increase in registrations of light commercial vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes, although there are concerns with the delay that may affect a proportion of vans due to supply issues”, said Sue Robinson, Chief Executive of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle dealers in the UK commenting on the latest SMMT’s light commercial vehicle registration figures.

Registrations of light commercials rose by 6.1% in August although there are concerns about the future supply of LCVs.

At the end of last year, a number of manufacturers have overstocked in readiness for any adverse consequences of Brexit. As a result, a large percentage of August’s van registrations can be attributed to customers opting for slightly different specification vans due to their immediate availability.

The strongest segments in volume terms were the medium (2.0-2.5t) and large (2.5-3.5t) LCV sectors, up 4.7% and 7.0% respectively.

This maximum weight sector now represents over 60.7% of the whole LCV market up to 3.5 tonnes. Although this has always been an important segment of the market, the recent growth in online deliveries coupled with strong demand in the building and construction industries have accelerated registrations.

Small vans under 2.0 tonnes showed a decline of -23.3%; these small vehicles are often used as service engineers’ mobile toolboxes and many operators are selecting slightly larger vehicles capable of carrying more tools and equipment.

Both pick-ups and 4X4 derivatives showed an increase in registrations, however, this marketplace is going through a transitional period where many manufacturers are either rationalising or removing these variants from their ranges. OEMs such as Volkswagen and Ford have formed alliances to produce their next pick-up as the same vehicle under different brand names and images to cut R&D costs for what represents a low volume product. This may be the reason why August’s third bestselling vehicle was the Ford Ranger Pick-Up.

The Ford Custom Transit and Ford Big Transit held onto their market lead as first and second bestsellers, with the Mercedes Sprinter in fourth position.

Sue Robinson concluded: “While dealers are still optimistic over the continued increase in demand for light commercials, there is an underlying concern that supply restrictions on semiconductors and other components could cause serious delays to future van deliveries.

“September’s registrations will be a clearer indicator of how the rest of 2021's LCV market will pan out”.

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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.