New LCV registrations in the UK were down by 24.8% year-on-year in June, with buyers showing uncertainty as the country emerged from lockdown.

Although the month’s performance was a big improvement on the 74.1% fall seen in May, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said it betrayed weak demand given the sector was effectively shuttered for three months.

The lockdown meant LCV sales for the first half of 2020 were down by 44.6% compared with the same period in 2019.

In June, it was registrations of small vans weighing less than 2.0t that saw the biggest year-on-year fall, down by 49.4% to just 1,576 sales.

The market-leading 2.5t-3.5t van segment was down by 22.8% to 20,168 registrations, while 2.0t-2.5t vans were down by 19.1%, with 4,475 vehicles shifted. 

There was also a heavy fall in pick-up registrations, down by 26.9% with 3,644 examples hitting the road.

There was however a small increase in registrations for the niche 4×4 segment, although a 1.1% uptick here still only equated to 178 sales in June.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “Although we are seeing a gradual improvement in demand as the UK starts to get back to business, we are still a long way off normal. The pandemic has stalled all but a few essential businesses, and those restarting now are doing so at reduced pace to ensure safety of their employees and in response to a cautious buyer appetite.

“Restart has been slow, while more uncertainty lies ahead as the UK grapples with business nervousness and potential regional lockdown measures. The industry will do all it can to attract buyers but restoring operator confidence remains the vital next step. 

“A successful restart for the sector will be critical to fleet renewal – and the UK’s long-term green recovery – given the crucial role light commercial vehicles play in urban areas.”

Regular market leader the Ford Transit Custom (pictured) again topped the LCV sales charts in June, with 5,930 registrations also making it the UK’s best-selling vehicle overall.

The Ford Transit was second with 2,770 registrations, ahead of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter (2,203), the Vauxhall Vivaro (1,684), and the Citroen Berlingo (1,322).

Completing the top ten were the Volkswagen Transporter (1,281), the Ford Ranger (1,273), the Vauxhall Combo (1,134), the Peugeot Partner (986), and the Ford Transit Connect (960).