The UK new LCV market saw its fourth consecutive month of year-on-year growth in April, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

It said 22,665 LCVs were registered last month, representing 4.9% growth compared with April 2022 – although still down by 13.7% compared with April 2019.

The overall growth came despite a decline in the biggest-selling 2.5-3.5t van sector, down by 6.2% with 15,205 registrations.

Offsetting this was very strong growth in the 2.0-2.5t van sector, up by 103.5% with 4,318 registrations.

Vans weighing less than 2.0t declined by 48.2%, with 428 registered, while pick-ups were down by 7.8% to 2,140.

The niche 4×4 sector recorded the strongest growth, up by 370.5% to 574 registrations.

Pure electric LCV registrations were up by 62.6%, for a 6.6% market share.

The SMMT said the overall market’s strong start to the year had prompted it to upgrade its full-year sales forecast to 326,000 units, 1.4% higher than its prediction issued in January. However, it said its electric LCV forecast had been downgraded from 8.6% to 7.4%, with operators facing challenges such as high energy costs, limited incentives, and inflationary pressures.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “Four months of growth signals recovery is in sight for the van market, with easing supply chain issues raising confidence and boosting the overall market outlook. 

“Ongoing economic uncertainty, however, must be addressed to help sustain and expand EV uptake. To ensure green growth that decarbonises the UK, the ever-growing choice of electric vans delivered by manufacturers must be backed by the right infrastructure and incentives so more businesses can confidently make the switch.”

The top-selling Ford Transit Custom recorded 2,295 registrations in April, ahead of the Ford Transit with 1,792, and the Vauxhall Vivaro with 1,469.

Completing the top ten were the Citroen Berlingo (1,273 registrations), Ford Ranger (1,054), Mercedes-Benz Sprinter (1,046), Peugeot Partner (1,041), Renault Trafic (996), Volkswagen Transporter (949), and Peugeot Expert (884).