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Van market ends 2020 down by 20 per cent and falls below 300,000 units for first time since 2013

Time 9 months ago

Van registrations in the UK plummeted by 20 per cent in 2020, the SMMT announced today (Jan 6).

A total of 292,657 vehicles were registered during the year – 73,121 fewer than in 2019 – as the impact of the pandemic and uncertainty over the UK’s future relationship with the EU cut demand towards the end of the year.

Registrations in December dropped by one per cent to 27, 283 after three months of growth.


The most popular van by far in 2020 was the Ford Transit Custom, pictured, which notched up 43,551 sales. It was followed by the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter at 23,506 and the Ford Transit at 21,724.

2020 was also the first sub-300,000-unit year since 2013, when 271,013 units were registered, and cost the sector some £2bn in retail value, according to SMMT calculations.

All van segments experienced a decrease, with small vans weighing less than or equal to 2.0 tonnes down by 34.4 per cent, medium vans between 2.0 and 2.5 tonnes falling by 15.6 per cent, and larger vans weighing between 2.5 and 3.5 tonnes down by 16.5 per cent.

Source: SMMT

Demand for new pick-ups and 4x4s, meanwhile, fell by 32.7 per cent and 10.6 per cent respectively.


SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: ‘It’s been a truly extraordinary and testing year for the commercial vehicle sector.

‘From keeping services running to getting key workers, goods and medicines from A to B, manufacturers and operators alike have adapted to multiple unpredictable challenges.

‘Undeniably the LCV market, having shrunk by a fifth, has a lot of hurdles to overcome as we enter 2021.

‘However, investment in fleet renewal will be key to driving recovery, and the sector’s resilience, now coupled with added clarity over UK-EU trading relations and the roll-out of vaccines, offers hope for both the van market and the wider economy.’

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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