Last month was the busiest April ever for the LCV market, according to figures released today (May 5) by the SMMT.
A total of 30,440 new vans were registered, and Mike Hawes, CEO of the trade body, welcomed the news.
All the segments saw artificially inflated growth rates versus April 2020, when Covid restrictions were first imposed and shut down much of the economy, with an eightfold increase in total units.
Registrations were also well up on the five-year average, with April 2021 rising by 23.2 per cent.
A total of 127,796 vans have been registered so far in 2021, returning uptake to levels last seen in 2019.
The SMMT said the growth was mainly driven by a sustained increase in larger van acquisitions, with vans weighing between 2.5 and 3.5 tonnes accounting for 20,037 registrations.
Heavy van registrations have almost doubled so far in 2021 compared with the same period last year – up to 84,374 versus 42,749 recorded in the first four months of 2020.
As a result, the SMMT’s latest forecast is that around 369,000 vans will be registered in 2021.
Chief executive Mike Hawes said: ‘Businesses are investing in new vehicles as they grow in confidence, driven by a more positive economic outlook stimulated by the vaccine rollout.
‘There has been particular uplift in larger van uptake, both from established demand in home delivery but also more broadly as other sectors emerge from lockdown looking to maximise their payload efficiency.
‘With a fragile supply chain still subject to the risk of disruption and ongoing Covid restrictions, there is some way to go before we can say business is back to normal, but after a very difficult year the outlook is much brighter.’
The Ford Transit Custom was the biggest seller of the month at 4,581 units, with its Transit stablemate second at 2,641. Third was the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, pictured, at 2,099.