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Commercial Retailers Confident With Registrations For First Quarter

NFDA 05/04/2023

“Light Commercial Vehicle registration figures have increased for the third consecutive month, which is encouraging for dealers entering Q2. This is still behind pre-pandemic levels (-15.1%), as a result of component issues and supply, but these figures are a sign that the market is recovering,” said Sue Robinson, Chief Executive of the National Franchised Dealers Association which represents car and commercial retailers in the UK, commenting on the latest SMMT new LCV registration figures.

March was the third consecutive month that LCV registrations have increased year-on-year, up 17.3%, from 40,613 units to 47,634 units. Year-to-date figures follow suit with a similar 17.4% rise, from 74,344 units in 2022, to now 87,272 commercials on the road in 2023.

With the exception of sub 2.0 tonne small vans, all sectors have increased their registrations in the first quarter. The largest volume sector of 2.5 – 3.5t LCVs, representing 67% of the market share, recorded a 13.3% increase in sales YTD, and 4.9% in the month of March.

Demand for Battery Electric Vehicle vans (BEVs) continued to grow in March, increasing year on year by 32.77% and representing 5.1% of all LCVs registered so far this year.

Sue Robinson continued: “There has been more reluctance in the transition to battery electric for commercial vehicle owners, compared to cars, mainly attributed to the poor public charging infrastructure at present. Currently 93% of all LCVs sold this year were Diesel as it still presents an economic and viable choice for both operator and driver.

“Another barrier to BEV LCV adoption will be the high costs when entering the market. With clarification of the Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) mandate published last week, manufacturers will soon need to produce a larger percentage of BEV vans. This has the potential to lower the retail price of BEV LCVs, nearer to the cost of petrol and diesel vehicles.

This, along with more cities and towns adopting Ultra and Low Emission Zones, could well increase future demand for electric LCVs, supporting Government’s Net-Zero targets. Overall, dealers are pleased with the upturn in both LCV registrations and product supplies for the beginning of 2023, but are still experiencing constraints on certain models due to supply chain shortages.”

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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.