Van drivers covered an average of 12,000 miles a year in 2018Van drivers covered an average of 12,000 miles a year in 2018

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Van sales have record breaking month in May with more than 29,000 hitting the road for the first time

  • New van registrations up 289.3 per cent year-on-year
  • A total of 29,354 new vans were registered in the month
  • Registrations were up 4.7 per cent compared to five-year average
  • 2.5 to 3.5-tonne vehicles made up two thirds of new van sales

Time 2 weeks ago

The commercial vehicle market is continuing to see incredible demand, breaking new van sales records in May.

Registrations were up 4.7 per cent on the pre-pandemic five-year average to 29,354 in May 2021, 1,313 vehicles more, according to SMMT data released on Friday (June 4).

Compared to May 2020, van sales were up 289.3 per cent.


With 157,150 vans registered so far in 2021, performance year-to-date is the highest on record.

The latest figure is almost double what it was in 2020 at 99.3 per cent up, and up four per cent on a pre-pandemic five-year average.

Registrations grew across all vehicle segments, with the total number of units quadrupling on last year’s lockdown-impacted figures.

Demand for larger 2.5 to 3.5-tonne vans drove the increase and made up two thirds of all registrations at 19,687 vans.

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The most in demand van less than 3.5-tonnes for the month was the Ford Transit Custom with 4,065 registrations and the Ford Transit was second with 2,401.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: ‘May’s figures are welcome news, suggesting Britain’s additional reliance on commercial vehicles is a long-term shift rather than a lockdown stopgap.

‘As the nationwide vaccination rollout continues at pace, maintaining business confidence is essential for the LCV market.

‘However, to counter the environmental impact accompanying increased demand, we need to incentivise some 4.6m van users and operators alike to make the switch to zero-emission capable technologies.

‘This starts with plans for a nationwide charging infrastructure that can support the diverse needs of the commercial vehicle sector.’

Rebecca Chaplin's avatar

Rebecca has been a motoring and business journalist since 2014, previously writing and presenting for titles such as the Press Association, Auto Express and Car Buyer. She has worked in many roles for Car Dealer Magazine’s publisher Blackball Media including head of editorial.

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