The prediction comes as the organisation releases new commercial vehicle sales figures, which show a strong start to the year for van registrations, with an 11.9% rise to 16,049 units in January, although they remain down for the rolling year.
Meanwhile heavy truck registrations decreased by 19.6% last month to 2,882 units, but were still 2.1% up for the rolling 12 months.
Overall commercial vehicle registrations rose 5.6% in January 2013 to 18,931 units.
Nigel Base, SMMT Commercial Vehicle Manager, said: ‘2013 is set to be a telling year for the commercial vehicle sector, with van registrations off to a good start and the truck sector's performance under close scrutiny ahead of the introduction of Euro 6 from January 2014.’
Sue Robinson, director of the RMI National Franchised Dealers Association, added: ‘The van market made a positive start in 2013 largely due to keen offers and strong marketing campaigns currently being offered by manufacturers.
‘The pick-up and midsize van sectors both experienced strong sales during January. These vehicles are often purchased by private buyers or the self-employed, which perhaps indicates a boost in a sector that is often used as a barometer on the general public’s spending confidence.
‘The overall decline in the truck market follows on from the steep drop in sales experienced at the end of 2012.’