Britain’s van market grew by almost 11% in September - the first month to see growth in van registrations this year - according to the latest research from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
SMMT said that the uptick in LCV registrations, which saw overall van registrations during the month grow by 10.8% to 34,950 units, was helped by September being one of the most popular months of the year for new van registrations due to the plate change, but the society warned that supply disruptions continue to restrict model availability.
The year-on-year increase was also driven by the fulfilment of orders for vans weighing more than 2.5 tonnes, up 13.9% to represent 73.8% of the market, while registrations of vans weighing more than 2.0 tonnes to 2.5 tonnes rose by 40.8%. However, vans weighing less than or equal to 2.0 tonnes were down -21.5%.
Battery electric vehicle (BEV) deliveries continued their upward trend, rising 70.0% to a market share of 4.4% – up from 2.9% in 2021, SMMT revealed.
With a growing number of zero emission van models coming to market, SMMT noted that lower taxation, purchase incentives and zone charge exemptions are driving volumes with BEV volumes increasing by 52.9% year on year from January to September.
Overall, however, UK van registrations during 2022 to date are down -20.1% year on year at 213,576 units, and some -24.8% below the pre-pandemic five-year average, despite strong order books for the latest LCV models.
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While there are signs that pandemic-related component shortages are starting to ease for some manufacturers, SMMT warned that supply issues continue to stymie the market, while economic headwinds add further pressures on recovery.
SMMT is calling for measures that address the UK’s economic sluggishness and boost operator confidence which it said will be crucial to stimulating the demand needed to help transition the van market to a zero emission future.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, commented: "While the full recovery of Britain’s new van market remains some way off, September growth reflects van makers’ efforts to fulfil strong order books despite a paucity of supply.
"High energy costs and wider economic uncertainty, however, will undermine operator confidence, meaning that long-term measures to provide stability and growth are needed if the sector – so often a bellwether for business activity – is to return to its past success."