Despite a drop in medium van sales the Ford Transit Custom continues to dominate the market, as James Dallas reports.
When the dominant medium van sector sneezes the entire light commercial vehicle market tends to get a cold – which is what happened in the plate-change month of March.
Sales of vans weighing from 2.5-3.5t, a bracket that covers both medium and large vans, fell by 10.5% to 36,027, helping to drag the overall market down 5.6% to 59,764 units, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
The drop in volumes in March, which is traditionally one of the two biggest sales periods of the year, along with the second plate-change month of September, was enough to trigger another of the SMMT’s calls for a return to economic stability, with chief executive Mike Hawes saying: “A decline in the important plate-change month of March is a concern and we need the right economic conditions to restore market stability and encourage buyers to invest in new commercial vehicles.
“The new van market is a key barometer of business confidence and while uncertainty remains, a degree of fluctuation in demand is to be expected this year.”
In the first quarter of 2018 the overall market was down 3.7% to 94,374 with the 2.5-3.5t category falling by 6.8% to 57,392.
The Ford Transit Custom, as ever, remained the UK’s top-selling van in March with 9,397 models finding homes, but this total was a drop of almost 1,000 from the 10,381 the brand shifted in the same month last year.
It should be taken into account, however, that Ford is in the process of replacing the current van with a facelifted version.