New Vans on dealer forecourt

New van registrations fall for fifth consecutive month

UK light commercial vehicle (LCV) registrations recorded their fifth consecutive month of decline in May, falling -25.1% to 22,000 units, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Although the fall is amplified in comparison with last year, which saw the highest May registrations total in history, the market was still some -21.5% below the pre-pandemic average as component shortages restricted production and therefore delivery.1

All segments saw a fall in volumes during the month, although larger vans weighing more than 2.5 tonnes were less impacted, with a decline of -19.4%. Medium vans weighing greater than 2.0 to 2.5 tonnes declined by -33.4%. The largest fall was recorded in the 4×4 sector (-80.7%), although this is a low volume segment subject to volatility.

Some 869 battery electric vans (BEV) were registered in the month – 276 more than last May. BEV registrations for the year to date are 62.7% higher than last year, due in part to significant large fleet orders delivered earlier in the year. As a result, over the year to date, overall BEV market share  has more than doubled to 5.2% – testament to the growing choice provided by manufacturers, with one in three models now available as a plug-in.

However, the sector lags behind the new car market, where, in the year to date, BEVs comprise 14.0% of new registrations. With pure petrol and diesel cars and vans facing the same 2030 end of sale date, the need for a ‘van plan’ to encourage operators to make the switch by providing long term incentives and dedicated van charging infrastructure is readily apparent. Electric vans comprise just one in 20 new registrations and account for around one in 180 in use. This is borne out by an SMMT survey released last month that revealed 58% of existing van owners would be encouraged to switch to an EV if there were more public charging points, while 57% said that government incentives such as reduced tax or grants towards purchase would help them to transition to electric.2

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “Global supply chain shortages continue to hold back the market following last May’s post-pandemic bounce back. Manufacturers have, however, worked hard to get the latest zero-emission vans to customers, more than doubling their market share. However, this is still an emerging market and everything must be done to encourage drivers to switch to zero emission commercial vehicles if we are to achieve our net zero goals. The industry will tackle the supply chain challenges undermining delivery but we urgently need a van plan to address the paucity of dedicated commercial vehicle infrastructure, as well as incentives to boost the sector’s electric transition.”

“Light commercial vehicle registration experiences its fifth consecutive month of decline, as global supply issues continue to frustrate the market”, said Sue Robinson, Chief Executive of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA).

New light commercial vehicle (LCV) registrations fell by -25.1% to 22,000 units in May, compared to the 29,354 new LCV registrations recorded in May 2021.

In comparison, the previous May was the highest on record, although the market was still below the pre-pandemic average as component shortages restricted production and deliveries to end users.

All sectors of LCVs experienced a fall in sales volumes during May. Larger vans with a GVW of 2.5 – 3.5 tonnes saw a smaller decline of -19.4%.

Demand for battery electric vehicle (BEV) vans continues to rise, with 869 registered in May, 276 more than last May. Electric van registrations for the year to date are 62.7% higher than last year, due to online delivery businesses upgrading their fleets and the influx of low emission zones around the country. The market share for EV vans is now at 5.2%, meaning that 1 in 20 vans sold are now EVs.

Ford was the market leader in May with a 39.20% share. It was followed by Vauxhall at 10.23% and then Citroen at 7.39%.

Sue Robinson added: “In a disappointing month of registration figures for May, it is positive to see that electric vehicle sales continue to increase both in the car and LCV market.

“With the planned end of sales of diesel and petrol LCVs by 2030 and the recent hike in fuel prices since the war in Ukraine, many dealers are positive about the values of promoting electric vans for lower range delivery and service purposes.”


1:May average 2015-2019 – 28,041
2: Industry calls for chargepoint ‘van plan’ to switch owners to electric, 24 May 2022

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