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Declining business confidence takes toll on van registrations

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.”

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Written by Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.

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