LCV registrations fell 6.1% in September, providing increased evidence of falling business confidence.
New figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show just under 54,000 new LCVs were registered in last month. Pickup demand rose 8.8% – the UK remains the most popular market in Europe for the body style – but sales of small and medium-sized vans declined by 42.9% and 14.4% respectively while large vans were down 4.0%.
For the year to date, registrations are down by 3.0% to 274,247 units. Pickups rose 4.6% but small, medium and large-sized vans were down 15.4%, 5.8% and 3.0% respectively
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “We have seen fluctuations in UK van registrations so far this year, but the overall downward trend shows that there is some hesitancy in the market. Businesses need certainty to invest and future growth now depends on government providing the right economic conditions to encourage operators to renew their fleets.”
Russell Adams, commercial vehicle manager at Lex Autolease, also commented on the figures, saying: “Despite a drop in year-on-year new van registrations, we’re still seeing strong demand across all sectors and expect this to continue through to the end of the year. Maintaining strong service levels and avoiding downtime remains the priority for operators, and updating ageing fleets is key to this.
“We’re still seeing a high number of enquiries related to electric vehicles and are working with customers to determine how best to introduce electrification into their fleet.”