Best ever month for UK new van market as plate-change offers drive demand

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive

The UK new light commercial vehicle (LCV) market saw year-on-year demand increase by 10.6% in March, marking the sector’s best ever monthly performance, according to the latest figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Registrations in the month accounted for almost two-thirds of the quarter’s volumes, as business buyers took advantage of new models and strong market incentives.

More than 66,000 new vans and pick-ups hit British roads in March compared with the same month in 2018, an uplift of 6,359 units. Both medium vans weighing 2.0-2.5 tonnes and large vans weighing 2.5-3.5 tonnes saw double-digit growth, with demand rising by 17.9% and 13.0% respectively. Registrations of pick-ups also rose, by 6.7%, to more than 11,000. Meanwhile small vans weighing less than 2 tonnes experienced a decline, falling -10.6%.

March rounded off a positive quarter for the sector, with demand for new LCVs up 8.9% on the same period in 2018, at 102,743 registrations.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “March is typically the busiest month of the year and it’s great to see large demand for the new ‘19 plate. While the market does fluctuate with buying cycles, it appears buyers are making the most of the fantastic deals on offer. For such exceptional demand to continue long term, however, we need business confidence to improve and that means an end to the political and economic instability besetting the UK.”

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