Having taken an in-depth look at the UK’s light commercial vehicle sales figures for 2016 and assessing the overall health of the market, we find that, as ever, there were winners and losers.
With the van market a reliable barometer of the UK’s economic climate it was encouraging to see there was still room for further growth – albeit marginal – with a 1.0% rise in volume to a new record of 375,687 units last year, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, following the quantum leap in sales between 2014 and 2015 (up 15%).
However, the outlook over the next couple of years is not quite so bright. The SMMT forecasts a 4.3% drop in volumes to 360,000 in 2017 followed by a further 2.0% decline to 352,000 in 2018.
A closer look at the 2016 stats shows the extent to which market leader Ford put a gloss on the overall market. The Blue Oval brand is reaping the benefit from its strongest-ever line-up of LCVs and grew sales by 15% year-on-year to 115,554 units, topping every market sector in the process.
The only other top 10 brand to prosper to such an extent was Nissan, which grew volume by a whopping 35%, although to a far more modest total of 15,728. Otherwise, five of the top 10 brands registered downturns with the remainder posting marginal gains.
Fiat Professional will have been particularly disappointed with a 13% drop and will be expecting a marked improvement this year with the Talento medium van and Fullback pick-up on board.