New LCV registrations in the UK fell by 20.6% year-on-year in 2022, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The organisation attributed the decline to significant levels of post-pandemic fleet renewal seen in 2021 – although registrations last year were also down by 22.9% compared with 2019 ­– and also to persistent supply chain issues, which restricted sales despite reportedly strong levels of orders.

The SMMT has also published monthly figures for December, showing a 25.8% year-on-year decline.

An annual total of 282,139 registrations in 2022 was the lowest figure seen since 2013.

All market sectors saw declines during the year, including the leading 2.5-3.5t van segment, which was down by 14.4% to 208,728 registrations.

Vans weighing 2.0-2.5t were down by 31%, to 32,501 registrations, and vans weighing less than 2.0t were down by 56.1%, to 7,805 registrations.

Pick-up truck registrations were down by 30.4%, to 29,564, while 4×4 registrations were down by 13.6%, to 3,541.

The year did see a 31.2% increase in electric LCV registrations, and these took a 5.9% share of the overall market.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “While demand for new vans remained robust throughout 2022, replicating last year’s high levels of fleet renewal was always going to be a challenge with relentless supply chain disruptions and wider economic malaise. 

“A return to growth is expected in 2023, but if this crucial sector is to deliver for the economy, society and the environment, action is needed from all stakeholders, particularly in the areas of charging infrastructure and fiscal frameworks, enabling more van buyers to make the switch.” 

Long-time market leader the Ford Transit Custom was again the UK’s best-selling LCV in 2022, with 42,215 registrations, ahead of the Ford Transit with 33,203, and the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter with 17,034.

Completing the top ten were the Vauxhall Vivaro (16,830 registrations), Ford Ranger (16,827), Volkswagen Transporter (15,164), Ford Transit Connect (8,218), Peugeot Expert (8,131), Renault Trafic (8,085), and Volkswagen Crafter (7,455).