The UK LCV market declined year-on-year by 5.7% in July, according to figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
Beneath the headline figure of 23,309 overall registrations, there was a widely contrasting picture in different segments, with pick-up registrations up by 13.9%, to 3,269, but 2.0t to 2.5t vans down by 28%, to 3,485.
Elsewhere, registrations of 2.5t to 3.5t vans – by far the largest segment of the LCV market – were down by 3.8%, to 14,261, and registrations of vans weighing less than 2.0t were down by 2.8%, to 2,149.
Four-wheel drive LCV sales were up by 806.3%, but the volumes involved are tiny, with registrations up from just 16 a year ago to 145.
Overall, there have so far been 204,005 new LCVs registered during 2018 – 2.7% down on the same period last year, which the SMMT says is down to fluctuating fleet buying cycles combined with ongoing low business confidence.
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “While variations in buying cycles are a natural feature of the light commercials sector and demand is still at high levels, the overall trend is one of decline.
“Ongoing uncertainty and low business confidence are undoubtedly having an effect; therefore government must address these concerns and create the conditions necessary for the market to prosper.”
Sue Robinson, director of the National Franchised Dealers Association, added the downturn in LCV sales reflected caution in the business community amid “concerns over slow progress in Brexit negotiations”.
The Ford Transit Custom remained the UK’s bestselling LCV during July, with 3,263 registrations, ahead of the Ford Transit with 2,444 and the Volkswagen Transporter with 1,375.