New van registrations hit a record high of 186,404 units in the first half of the year, according to the SMMT.

Sales in the year to 30 June were 20% up on the same period last year while numbers in the month itself reached 35,74 a 16.4% year-on-year rise.

“The record half-year total for commercial vehicle registrations is not unexpected given the significant gains being made in the van market,” said Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive. “Registrations of vans have been increasing strongly for some time, underpinned by economic confidence among large and small businesses, as well as the growing trend for home deliveries.”

Sales of models in the high volume 2.5 to 3.5t large van sector increased by 24% to 21,693 in June, sub-2.0t vans were up 3.4% to 4205, pick-up numbers rose 17% to 3596 and 4×4 LCVs jumped 27% to 991 units.

The only sector to decline was the 2.0 to 2.5t weight category, which slipped 0.8% to 5257 registrations during the month.

For the first six months of the year, however, all sectors were significantly ahead of the volumes registered in the first half of 2014.