UK new LCV registrations were up by 13.3% year-on-year in October.

According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), this made it the best October ever for the new van market, with a total of 28,753 vehicles registered.

The SMMT has attributed the strong market to operators gearing up their delivery fleets ahead of the Christmas period, as well as pent-up demand from the first UK lockdown and growth in the construction sector.

The statistics were however flattered by relatively weak figures recorded in October 2019, due to supply issues around the introduction of the WLTP emissions regime at that time.

The best performing sector of the market in October 2020 was 2.5t-3.5t vans, which saw a 26.8% increase in registrations year-on-year with 20,492 vehicles sold.

There were also increases for 2.0t-2.5t vans, up by 2.9% to 4,482 registrations, and for vans weighing less than 2.0t, up by 1.6% to 1,418 registrations.

There were however big falls in pick-up registrations, down by 31.8% to 2,211, and the niche 4×4 segment, down by 33.6% to 150.

For the year to date, new LCV registrations overall are still down by 24.1% compared to 2019.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “A second month of growth for the van market is testament to the resilience of the sector and society’s reliance on it amidst a difficult year. 

“However, with a second nationwide lockdown ahead, future performance is difficult to gauge. Industries such as construction and logistics will keep the country moving as they did earlier in the year, but continued uncertainty and closures across retail and hospitality will have an effect on all businesses, and consequently commercial vehicle demand. 

“Now more than ever, industry needs the assurance of a tariff-free deal with the EU to ensure production and delivery of these essential vehicles continues with no interruption in the difficult months ahead.”

Regular market leader the Ford Transit Custom topped the UK sales chart in October, with 3,773 registrations, ahead of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter with 2,475 and the Ford Transit with 2,135.

The top five was completed by the Vauxhall Vivaro, with 1,923 registrations, and the Volkswagen Transporter with 1,899.

Rounding out the top ten were the Vauxhall Combo (1,633), Peugeot Boxer (1,328), Volkswagen Crafter (1,208), Citroen Berlingo (1,034), and the Citroen Relay (922).