Demand for new vans rose by 1.5% last month, representing the best August performance in 12 years, the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturer and Traders (SMMT) has revealed.

In the first eight months of the year, 225,311 vans hit the roads, a 2.8% decline on the 231,857 units that found homes in the first eight months of 2016.

Covering mainly light vans, demand for LCVs weighing between 2.0-2.5t grew by 39.9% last month compared with the previous August to 3,049 units.

After falling for the first time in 16 months last month, the pick-up market bounced back in August, with an 8.0% increase in demand to 1,688 units.

The 2.5-3.5t segment – by far the largest in terms of volume – fell for the fifth month in a row, by 0.6%, to 9,616 LCVs, while registrations of sub-2.0t vans also dropped, by 7.4% to 1,278 units.

Meanwhile, just eight 4×4 vans were registered last month, a decline of 98.7% compared with the previous August, the SMMT said.

The Ford Transit Custom topped the sales charts in August, with 1,957 units sold during the month, followed by the Ford Transit (1,311) and the Ford Transit Connect (1,077).

 “August is traditionally one of the quietest months of the year, ahead of September’s plate-change, so the moderate increase in the new van market is welcome news,” said Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive. “While year-to-date figures show demand easing, this is in line with market expectations and overall registration volumes remain at a very high level. This stabilising of the market is indicative of what we can expect for the remainder of the year.”