Demand from dotcom shopping and the move towards cleaner vans propped up the market in 2019. James Dallas reports.
The number of new LCVs sold in the UK grew by 2.4% in 2019, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
A total of 365,778 LCVs were registered during the year – the third-highest total on record. The result followed a slight dip in sales of 1.3% between 2017 and 2018.
Vans weighing from 2.0t to 2.5t recorded the biggest growth, up by 10.5% to 56,282 registrations.
Vans weighing less than 2.0t were up by 4.4%, to 26,162 registrations, while the 2.5t-3.5t van sector – by far the market’s largest – recorded 4.2% growth with 228,659 registrations.
Perhaps surprisingly, the pick-up truck market, which has often bucked downward trends in recent years, fell back 1% on the year, with 53,055 registrations, while the niche 4x4 sector was down by 9.7%, with 1,620 vehicles sold.
The annual market figures were helped by a strong end to the year, with volume in December up by 7.8% year-on-year, following a downturn in each of the three previous months.
The SMMT said the December market was boosted by an easing of regulatory changes and attractive offers on new models, while the overall growth in 2019 was driven by buyers being keen to switch to new, cleaner models to comply with clean-air zone requirements and meet increased demand for online shopping deliveries, despite political and economic uncertainty persisting for much of the year.
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “A healthy van market is good news for the industry, environment and Exchequer and so the rise in 2019 registrations is very welcome.
“As we enter a new decade, however, we need this upward trend to continue if we are to address environmental concerns. The quicker these new vehicles become commonplace, the quicker their positive impact on air quality and climate change will be felt.
“Manufacturers will continue to invest in new, cleaner technologies but, ultimately, it is businesses that will determine the pace of change. Business positivity is essential to give companies the confidence to invest in their fleets.”