Van registrations fell by nearly 15% in July as ongoing supply problems relating to semiconductors meant only 23,606 LCVs were registered.

Despite this, the month’s performance was only a 4% reduction compared to the pre-pandemic five-year average, according to the SMM.

Large vans weighing more than 3.5-tonnes saw a decrease of 5.2% to 16,653 vehicles, with those weighing two tonnes and less seeing a much greater decline of 38.2%.

Those between two and two and a half tonnes were down 41.4% to 2,680.

Year-to-date registrations remain up 57.5% on last year.

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The SMMT said 215,119 new vans have exchanged hands so far in 2021 and growth is being driven by demand from operators who are renewing and expanding their fleets, mainly due to the increase in demand for online deliveries and also within the construction sector.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “While July’s decline in the new van market is disappointing, it must be viewed in context against the semiconductor shortages currently challenging the global industry.

“Given the shift to home-deliveries, strength of the construction sector and as the economy opens up further, we expect the market to end the year almost back to 2019 levels.

“Fleet renewal is critical,” he added. “Not only to ensure the newest, cleanest and greenest vans enter UK roads, but to enable the UK to meet its ambitious green targets.”