According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), sales over the first four months of 2012 dropped 15.7% to 76,200 on the back of four consecutive monthly declines.

Market leader Ford was down 26% in April with 3522 registrations but Nissan was the hardest hit brand in the top10 with registrations plummeting 43% to 418 units.

Citroen was the only leading manufacturer to grow sales in April – by less than 1.0% to 1135 units.

SMMT boss Paul Everitt said: “The relative strength of the 2011 van market continues to dent 2012 performance.”