New van registrations increased by 22.0% in April reflecting strong business confidence, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

It is the 12th consecutive month of growth in the market.

Year-to-date, 2015 is 21.9% ahead of 2014, with 343,851 vans registered so far this year.

4x4s experienced the largest amount of growth, up 36.7% on April 2014’s figure of 708 units. Registrations of vans weighing between 2.0-tonnes and 2.5-tonnes grew by 27.1%, while registrations of vans weighing between 2.5-tonnes and 3.5-tonnes increased by 18.7%.

“With business confidence still on the up, the strong uplift enjoyed in the commercial vehicle market this year has continued into spring,” said Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive. “Demand for new vans is stronger than ever, with the sector recording its 12th consecutive month of growth in April.”

The biggest area of growth in 2014 was the medium van segment, helped by new product in the form of Vauxhall’s Vivaro and the Renault Trafic, coming on top of the dominance of Ford’s Transit Custom.

Vans weighing between 2.0-2.5t increased registrations by 42.0%, while pick-ups and larger 2.5-3.5t vans were both broadly in line with the market. The big loser was the sub-2.0t sector, which was surprisingly down 5.3% in a rapidly growing market.

In 2014, the sector leaders were Peugeot’s Partner in the light van class, which replaced the now second-placed Berlingo, while in the medium van segment the Transit Custom knocked the Vauxhall Vivaro and VW Transporter down a spot each to claim number one in class, and Ford also took the heavy van category, with Transit retaining its position again ahead of Mercedes’ Sprinter. The top pick-up was once more the Toyota Hilux.