New LCV registrations in the UK were up year-on-year in July ­– the first month of growth since January following coronavirus lockdown disruption.

The market was up by 7.1%, with 27,701 new LCVs hitting the road, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The best performing sector of the market was pick-ups, for which registrations were up by 24.9% to 3,893 registrations.

There was also strong growth in the 2.0t-2.5t van sector, up by 12% to 4,571 registrations, while the market-leading 2.5t-3.5t van sector saw growth of 5.4% to 17,566.

The only sector to see a decline was vans weighing less than 2.0t, which was down by 22% to 1,468 registrations.

The niche 4×4 LCV sector saw a 78.1% increase, with 203 new vehicles hitting the road.

Despite July’s growth, the overall new LCV market is still down by 38.6% for the year to date, and the SMMT is predicting a drop of 26.3% for the whole of 2020.  

Chief executive Mike Hawes said: “With lockdown restrictions rolling back and businesses restarting operations, the van market is beginning to look more positive. Growth is likely to have been driven by pent up demand and the re-emergence of sectors such as construction.

“However, these green shoots of recovery could prove fragile given the uncertain economic situation. With new technology coming to the market and the need for operators to renew their fleets, maintaining overall business confidence will be crucial.”

Chart-topping mainstay the Ford Transit Custom was again the UK’s most popular new LCV in July, with 3,405 examples registered, ahead of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter with 2,581, and the Ford Transit with 1,785.

The top five was completed by the Volkswagen Transporter, with 1,545, and the Vauxhall Vivaro with 1,381.

Rounding out the top ten were the Ford Ranger (1,300), Vauxhall Combo (1,206), Peugeot Partner (1,053), Ford Transit Connect (1,042), and the Citroen Berlingo (1,014).