UK registrations of new LCVs were up by 5.4% year-on-year in May to 29,142 – the fifth consecutive month of growth, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

It was a particularly good month for sales of small vans weighing less than 2.0t, which were up by 14% to 2,254 units.

Registrations of vans weighing 2.0-2.5t were up by 10.2% 4,706, while registrations of 2.5-3.5t vans – by far the largest sector of the market – rose by 5.3% to 18,263.

There was a slight fall in the pick-up market, which is usually one of the strongest performing sectors, down by 1.8% to 3,759, while 4×4 LCV registrations were down by 26.3%, though the latter represents a tiny fraction of the market with only 160 vehicles sold during the month.

For the year so far, the overall LCV market is up by 7.5% on 2018 with a total of 156,489 vehicles sold, including increased demand for all market sectors.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “Another month of growth for the UK’s van market is welcome news, evidence that investment by manufacturers into new models is continuing to help attract buyers.

“Vans today are more high-tech than ever, with impressive fuel economy, safety features and performance.

“However, business purchasing is cyclical in nature and for the market to stay strong we need the right economic and political conditions.”

Customary market leader the Ford Transit Custom topped the sales charts again in May, with 3,770 registrations, ahead of its larger sibling the Ford Transit with 2,626.

The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter was in third place with 2,138, while the top five was completed by the Peugeot Partner with 1,758, and the Volkswagen Transporter with 1,629.