Demand for new vans fell 4.2% in September, betraying signs of declining business confidence.
Typically a strong month for van registrations in line with the plate change, September saw the market fall to 57,368 units, while new car registrations also declined, according to latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
Downturns were particularly seen across the 4×4 sector (-46.5%), sub 2.0t vans (-25.5%) and 2.0t to 2.5t vans (-10.7%). In contrast demand for pickups and heavier vans remained broadly stable, rising 0.4% and 0.1% respectively. Registrations for rigids were down 20.9%.
Year-to-date, the van market was down 3.1%, with demand for heavier vans down 3.2% along with those weighing less than 2.0 tonnes, which declined 20.2%, while 4x4s were down 91.4%. Pickup registrations rose 11.0% while vans between 2 and 2.5t were up 6.5%. Rigids fell 6.3%.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “Business confidence has taken a hit recently as economic and political uncertainty continues, so fluctuations in purchasing patterns are to be expected. We must remember that the van market remains at a historically high level but growth will depend on better economic conditions and business confidence, something government must prioritise.”