This year looks like it could be an interesting and eventful one for the light commercial vehicle industry.

It remains to be seen what sort of trading deal, if any, the UK will be left with after Brexit, which makes it difficult for manufacturers and operators to plan ahead and also means the much-cited economic uncertainty drags on. Not surprisingly, this lack of clarity has knocked the confidence of businesses and retail consumers, and as a result, last year LCV sales fell for the first time in half a decade.

The decline of 3.6%, however, was not as steep as many feared and the total of 362,149 registrations was still the third highest in the past 10 years, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. 

Pick-up sales continue to defy the downward trend, so it will be interesting to assess the impact the Mercedes X-Class is likely to have on this competitive segment.

Finally, the LCV sector is heavily reliant on diesel so it is inconceivable that the market would experience the sort of drop in sales (-17%) seen in diesel passenger cars. Nevertheless, the pressure on urban operators in particular to find alternatives to the dominant fuel is growing.

James Dallas is the Editor of What Van?