The light commercial vehicle market enjoyed its first month of growth since January, with July seeing a 7.1 per cent rise in registrations.
The SMMT’s latest figures, announced today (Aug 5), showed that 27,701 new LCVs were sold in the UK, with the Ford Transit Custom topping the list of best sellers at 3,405 units.
The trade body said that growth was particularly strong in the sector for pick-ups, where dealers recorded a 24.9 per cent increase in sales, as well as medium-sized vans weighing 2.0 to 2.5 tonnes, with a 12.0 per cent increase.
The only sector that suffered was light vans (less than or equal to 2.0 tonnes), with a drop of 22.0 per cent in registrations . Heavy vans made up most of the overall sales, with 17,566 registrations – a rise of 5.4 per cent.
There was also a 78.1 per cent increase in demand for 4×4s, although the SMMT said that class of vehicle accounted for only a very small fraction of total LCV registrations.
The news came on the same day it was announced that new car sales went up by more than 11 per cent last month – the first time they’d done so since December.
However, July’s improvement for vans is countered by a backdrop of prolonged reduced demand, with overall LCV registrations down by 39.0 per cent in the year to date.
The latest SMMT Outlook estimates that around 270,000 LCVs will be registered by the end of the year, which is a drop of 26.3 per cent.
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: ‘With lockdown restrictions rolling back and businesses restarting operations, the van market is beginning to look more positive. Growth is likely to have been driven by pent-up demand and the re-emergence of sectors such as construction.
‘However, these green shoots of recovery could prove fragile given the uncertain economic situation. With new technology coming to the market and the need for operators to renew their fleets, maintaining overall business confidence will be crucial.’
Car Dealer Live featured live reaction and analysis of July’s new car registrations – watch the interview at the top of this story
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