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SMMT lowers van sales forecast for 2021 as market falls for second month in a row

  • A total of 27,420 LCVs were registered in October – down by 4.6 per cent on 2020
  • But sales of 4x4s and vans under two tonnes doubled
  • Outlook for 2021 is downgraded by more than 20,000 units to 340,000

Time 4 weeks ago

The LCV market dipped by 4.6 per cent in October versus last year with 27,420 vans registered, the SMMT revealed today (Nov 4).

But although it was the second month running of a decline, the sector was still 2.3 per cent up on the 2015-2019 five-year pre-pandemic average for October of 26,799.

Registrations of vans weighing more than 2.5 tonnes, which comprise most of the LCV market, fell by 8.9 per cent to 18,678.


Pick-ups and vans weighing between two and 2.5 tonnes dropped by 16.9 per cent and 16.6 per cent to 1,837 and 3,740 respectively.

But there was good news with registrations of 4x4s and vans weighing under two tonnes doubling, with increases of 114.7 per cent and 100.5 per cent to 322 and 2,843 respectively.

The top three sellers during the month were the Ford Transit Custom at 4,359 units, the Ford Transit with 2,982, and the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, pictured at top, at 1,660.

October 2021 LCV best sellers via SMMT

Source: SMMT

Over the year to date, LCV registrations have risen by 24.4 per cent to 294,656 units versus last year, when Covid-related issues saw 236,833 vans registered between January and October. The 2015-2019 average was 310,682.


Because of what it called ‘ongoing challenges facing the sector’, the SMMT has downgraded its 2021 outlook for the LCV market by more than 20,000 units to 340,000.

Although higher than for 2020, it’s still a net decline versus 2019, and the SMMT said the market wasn’t expected to recover back above that level until 2023.

Chief executive Mike Hawes said: ‘While it’s disappointing to see the number of new vans registered during October decline, demand has remained strong over the course of the year.

‘The commercial vehicle sector, however, is not immune to the challenges faced by the industry as a whole, most notably the semiconductor shortage.

‘Manufacturers are working hard to fulfil orders to ensure fleets can continue to be renewed and the latest models, including zero-emission products, hit UK roads.’

New car registrations slumped by nearly 25 per cent in October, but plug-in cars provided some positivity

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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