UK new LCV registrations fell by 20.7% year-on-year in July, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The industry body said the decline had occurred despite strong order banks, due to the ongoing global supply shortages sparked by the Covid-19 pandemic.

All segments saw sales declines, with the market leading 2.5-3.5t van segment actually the strongest performer, although 14,782 registrations was still an 11.2% year-on-year fall.

Vans weighing 2.0-2.5t were down by 49.8% with 1,346 registrations, while vans weighing less than 2.0t were down by 20.3% to 723.

Pick-up registrations fell by 43.2% to 1,628, while 4x4s were down by 51.2% to 243.

In terms of fuel mix, battery electric van registrations were up by 55.7%, taking a 5.4% market share.

With overall market sales figures continuing to disappoint, the SMMT has downgraded its whole year market forecast to 307,000 new registrations, a 6.5% drop compared with the 328,000 registrations it predicted in April. Its new forecast figure would represent a 13.7% decline compared with 2021.

The SMMT is however expecting the market to bounce back in 2023 to 357,000 registrations.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “The LCV market is struggling to recover post-Covid as global supply chain shortages and economic headwinds make the business environment even more challenging for both manufacturers and operators. 

“In these circumstances, the continued growth in electric van uptake is admirable as the industry strives to deliver its Net Zero commitments. 

“Given the importance of the commercial vehicle sector to Britain’s economy, its environmental ambitions and the need to keep society on the move, the next Prime Minister must look to restore economic confidence and support the sector’s transition to zero emission mobility.”

The UK’s top-selling LCV, the Ford Transit Custom, racked up 2,737 registrations in July, ahead of the Ford Transit with 2,024 and the Volkswagen Transporter with 1,499.

Completing the top ten were the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter (1,298 registrations), the Renault Trafic (964), the Ford Ranger (926), the Peugeot Expert (626), the Volkswagen Crafter (602), the Citroen Dispatch (543), and the Vauxhall Vivaro (534).