Ford Transit Connect (2019)Ford Transit Connect (2019)


LCV market enjoys best April for three years but demand for battery-electrics plummets

  • New light commercial vehicle market up 5.4% in April
  • It was the 16th consecutive month of growth, says SMMT
  • But battery-electric van demand falls by 42.4%

Time 11:40 am, May 7, 2024

Demand for new LCVs rose by 5.4% in April as more businesses invested in the latest models, according to the SMMT this morning.

A total of 23,889 new vans, 4x4s and pickups were registered – the highest figure for the month since 2021, when 30,440 units were sold, and making it the 16th month of growth in a row.

Fleets invested in vehicles to support local trades, doorstep services and other increasingly vital parts of the logistics sector, said the trade body.

Growth was underpinned by the long-term popularity of the largest LCV models weighing more than 2.5 tonnes to 3.5 tonnes – up 3.3% to 15,714 units and accounting for almost two-thirds (65.8%) of registrations.

However, deliveries of the latest zero-emission LCVs dropped last month, with new battery-electric van uptake falling to 861 units – down 42.4% versus 2023’s uptick in demand.

It means battery-electric van accounted for just 3.6% of all new LCV registrations versus 6.6% in April last year.

April  traditionally has low registration volumes because it follows new-plate March, but the SMMT warned that such a large fall in battery-electric van uptake – just as government targets demand rapid growth – puts green goals at risk.

The SMMT’s latest outlook is for the UK’s new van market to grow by 3.3% to 353,000 units this year, while battery-electric van market share has been revised downwards to 8.3% from 9.4% in the January outlook.

Battery-electric van volumes are still expected to rise by 44.1% in 2024 to 29,000 units, but uptake is set to remain below the 22% sales targets set for manufacturers in the ZEV mandate, warned the trade body.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: ‘Britain’s new van market continues to grow with the very latest, more fuel-efficient models driving down CO2 – a core mission for the sector.

‘Manufacturers are investing billions to bring electric vehicles to market. However, uptake is slowing and urgent action is needed.

‘If the government is serious about delivery of its ambitious targets, it must deploy an equally bold strategy for delivering van-suitable public chargepoints across the UK – now the single most important step to get a greener Britain moving.’

The best-selling LCV last month was the Ford Transit at 2,148 units, followed by its Custom stablemate (1,920), Vauxhall Vivaro (1,661), Ford Ranger (1,416) and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter (1,411).

Sixth was the Volkswagen Transporter (1,218), then the Ford Transit Connect (pictured) at 1,003, Vauxhall Combo (951), Renault Trafic (852) and Peugeot Partner (829).

John Bowman's avatar

John has been with Car Dealer since 2013 after spending 25 years in the newspaper industry as a reporter then a sub-editor/assistant chief sub-editor on regional and national titles. John is chief sub-editor in the editorial department, working on Car Dealer, as well as handling social media.

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