UK new LCV registrations grew by 8.5% year-on-year in February, for the best performance seen in the month since 1998.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said a total of 17,540 LCVs were registered.

The market-leading 2.5-3.5t van segment saw 14% growth year-on-year, with 12,125 registrations, representing 69.1% of the overall total.

The 2.0-2.5t van segment saw a 16.5% decline, to 3,361 registrations, while vans weighing less than 2.0t saw sales grow by 5.2% to 346.

Pick-up truck registrations grew by 42.3%, to 1,563, while 4×4 registrations were up by 90.8%, to 145.

However, it was a disappointing month for electric van sales, down by 44.5% to 996, representing a 5.5% market share. The SMMT attributed this to traditionally smaller volumes in the month accentuating natural fluctuations in fleet investment, and said electric van growth was expected to resume in the coming months, with the organisation predicting a 64.5% rise over the whole of 2023.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “Following a torrid 2022, the UK van market is returning to sustained growth that is exceeding even pre-pandemic levels. 

“Given the importance of vans to keeping the British economy and society on the move, this growth is good news. 

“With the ZEV market still at a very early stage, however, a concerted effort by all stakeholders to accelerate van-suitable chargepoint installation must become an urgent priority, enabling long-term net zero fleet investment at the scale necessary.”

The Ford Transit Custom topped February’s sales chart with 2,573 registrations, ahead of the Ford Transit with 1,529, and the Vauxhall Vivaro with 1,203.

Completing the top ten were the Citroen Berlingo (960 registrations), Ford Transit Connect (897), Renault Trafic (877), Mercedes-Benz Sprinter (872), Ford Ranger (852), Renault Master (672), and Volkswagen Transporter (634).