The light commercial vehicle sector held up remarkably well considering the backdrop of political and economic uncertainty eating away at business and consumer confidence throughout last year.
New sales dipped by just 1.3%, but the final total of 357,325 units was still the fourth highest on record, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
More worrying, however, was the year-on-year drop of almost 9% in December, which suggested the market could finally be feeling the strain.
Brexit has overshadowed the industry and the economy as a whole for far too long and the lack of progress on the issue, which handicaps forward planning, is a real concern.
The SMMT has been consistently vocal in its calls for frictionless trade to be retained between the UK and the European Union and the target should be for clarity to be achieved before the 29 March deadline for the nation’s departure from the EU.
Vauxhall stands to be affected by the outcome more than most, having committed to keep production of its next-generation Vivaro in Luton following its takeover by the PSA Group. After a difficult few years at the tail end of General Motors’ ownership, the brand is bouncing back, so it is to be hoped that political matters outside of its control do not derail its plans.
James Dallas is the Editor of What Van?