Vehicle supply issues affecting the van market in particular could affect the UK’s economic recovery, according to the BVRLA.

The rental and leasing industry body said in its latest Business Impact Survey, more than 90% of respondents said the current supply of combustion-engined vans was a barrier to meeting the needs of customers, with 41% saying this barrier was extreme. 

In addition, 84% said this problem was getting worse.

The picture is not much better regarding the supply of electric vans, with more than 80% saying this was a problem, 35% saying it was extreme, and 69% saying it was getting worse.

The picture regarding vans is in contrast to wider economic optimism, with 90% of respondents expecting economic growth over the next six months, 70% anticipating an improved outlook for the leasing sector, and 75% predicting more demand for rental vehicles.

In addition, 71% are expecting to increase the size of their fleet during the rest of 2021, up from 54% when asked in February.

BVRLA Chief Executive Gerry Keaney said: “The van parc is growing exponentially at a rate double that of cars, yet the supply of battery electric vans is an acute problem. Although we have seen an increase in the number of makes and models coming to market, there is a particular dearth of vans capable of long ranges or towing.

“Vans play a vital role in the UK economy with one in ten workers relying on a one to do their job. A special focus on vans is needed if this sector is to achieve parity with the more developed electric car market and the BVRLA will be making recommendations to the government.”