Sales in the first five months of the year were up by more than a quarter to 110,388 compared to the same period in 2010.

SMMT boss Paul Everitt said the sales figures illustrated “the ongoing resurgence in the market”.

Sales of vans weighing less than 2.0-tonnes grew 12.7% in May to 3331 units and were up by a more modest 5.5% in the year-to-date to 21,294.

Sales of vans in the 2.0-3.5-tonne category increased by 18.2% last month to 16,635 and rose by a substantial 33% in the year to the end of May.

Market leader Ford increased sales by 19.7% last month to 5425, Vauxhall enjoyed a strong month with sales up almost 35% to 2478 and Volkswagen posted a rise of 18% to 2891 but remains behind Ford and Vauxhall in the year-to-date.

Peugeot produced a notable performance in May with sales up 40.7% to 1756.

Mercedes endured a less successful month with registrations down by more than 11% to 1443 while Citroen dipped 1.9% to 1313 units.