The UK new LCV market saw an 18.4% year-on-year decline in October, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The decline meant a total of 22,386 LCVs were registered, making it the worst October for sales since 2012, and 16.5% below the pre-pandemic five-year average.

The SMMT said this came despite robust demand, with supply shortages continuing to restrict availability.

The market-leading 2.5-3.5t van segment saw a 7.6% year-on-year decline, with 17,263 vans registered, while the 2.0-2.5t van segment was down by 50.7%, with 1,844 registrations, and the segment for vans weighing less than 2.0t plummeted by 80.7%, with just 550 registrations.

The best performing market segment was pick-up trucks, for which registrations rose by 27.8% to 2,348, while 4×4 registrations rose by 18.3% to 381.

Battery electric vans saw a major increase in registrations, up by 52.5% to take a 7.6% market share, up from 4.1% in October 2021.

For the year-to-date, the overall market is down by 19.9% compared with 2021, and 24.1% below the pre-pandemic five-year average, and the SMMT has revised its full-year forecast down to 290,000 units.

While it expects the market to rally in 2023 and 2024, to 330,000 and 351,000 registrations respectively, these totals would still be below pre-pandemic levels.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “The UK’s van market continues to be shackled by supply shortages amid difficult operating conditions, which will likely continue into 2023, easing over the course of the year. 

“Demand for zero emission vans remains robust despite these challenges, but a successful net zero transition will require measures targeted at long-term operator confidence.”

In the model sales chart, October saw the Ford Transit Custom retain its number one status, with 2,463 registrations, just ahead of the Ford Transit with 2,336.

The Volkswagen Transporter was third with 1,799 registrations, ahead of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter with 1,552, and the Ford Ranger with 1,389.

Completing the top ten were the Renault Trafic (1,048), the Peugeot Expert (1,011), the Vauxhall Vivaro (992), the Vauxhall Movano (752), and the Ford Transit Connect (716).