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New van demand grows for 11th month in row but EV uptake needs 2024 boost, says SMMT

  • UK new LCV market rose year on year by 12.7% to 27,433 units in November
  • Second monthly fall in battery-electric van uptake fails to derail year-to-date gains
  • Fast solutions to rules of origin tariff threat are urged
  • Van-suitable charging infrastructure seen as crucial to long-term growth
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Time 11:37 am, December 5, 2023

The new LCV market grew for the 11th consecutive month in November as 27,433 vans, pickups and 4x4s joined Britain’s fleets, the SMMT said this morning.

The 12.7% rise was 4.6% above the November 2019 pre-pandemic level of 26,238 and took the year-to-date figure to 311,754 units – the largest for two years.

Battery-electric van (BEV) registrations fell for the second month, though, with 1,631 units registered – 343 fewer than in November 2022.


But the SMMT said the broader trend was positive, with BEV registrations up 15% since January.

A total of 17,289 BEVs have joined UK roads in 2023, accounting for almost one in 18 new vans registered during the year.

The SMMT said the recent stall in demand emphasised the importance of measures to encourage van operators to invest in the benefits that zero-emission technology brings, ranging from lower CO2 emissions to increased performance and potentially lower running costs.


And the industry body said the most pressing priority was swift action to delay ‘tough’ rules of origin requirements that will slap tariffs on BEVs traded across the Channel from January 1 – potentially cutting choice and affordability.

With four in five (83.6%) BEVs registered this year originating in the EU, and the UK increasing its BEV exports, the SMMT said the new rules posed a clear threat to the transition.

Operator confidence also needed to be safeguarded by speeding up the public charge point rollout with a national delivery plan that takes into account the specific needs of larger vans.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: ‘An eleventh month of growth in Britain’s van sector is hugely positive, especially given fleet renewal is key to decarbonisation.

‘It is crucial that operator demand also translates to zero-emission van uptake, driving down CO2 emissions to meet Britain’s ambitious environmental targets.

‘These are severely threatened by rules of origin requirements due in less than four weeks’ time, so it is essential that a pragmatic solution is found – and fast.’

The best-selling LCV in November was the Ford Transit Custom with 3,266 units.

It was followed by the Ford Transit at 2,222, Vauxhall Vivaro (1,783), Ford Ranger (1,624), Mercedes-Benz Sprinter (1,525), Volkswagen Transporter, pictured at top, at 1,416 units, Citroen Berlingo (1,311), Toyota Hilux (934), Maxus Deliver 9 (819) and Renault Trafic (816).

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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