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March van registrations suffer first fall in five years

UK van registrations saw a slight downturn in March, with a marked decrease for smaller vehicles.

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UK van registrations saw a marked decrease for smaller vehicles.

Latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show a total of 63,316 light commercial vehicles hit British roads last month, representing a decline of -0.9% – the first downturn in March for five years.

The decline was more pronounced for vehicles weighing less than 2.0 tonnes and vans between 2.0-2.5 tonnes, which fell by -31.6% and -4.0% respectively. In contrast, pick-ups and heavier vans were up 23.0% and 3.6% respectively. Rigids were up 1.9%.

Year to date, the total van market was also down 0.9% to 97,970 units, with vans under 2.0 tonnes and between 2.0 and 2.5 tonnes down 27.7% and 0.5% while rigids declined 2.7%. Pick-ups were up 21.7% while heavier vans rose 3.3%.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “The new van market has experienced strong levels of demand in recent years and this dip in registrations represents a natural rebalancing of the market. Despite the decline, demand remains at an historically high level with year-to-date registrations matching 2015’s performance, which was only exceeded by demand in 2016. We expect demand to remain stable at this high level throughout the year.”

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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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