Figures for new van registrations in April reveal the “shocking” state of the sector after they plummeted by 86.2%.

Just 3,387 light CVs joined UK roads during the month, 21,217 fewer than in April 2019, after the coronavirus effectively shut down the market.

The SMMT said registrations of mid-sized vans weighing between two and 2.5-tonnes fell by 90.4% and demand for larger vans in the 2.5-3.5-tonne category dropped by 83.1%.

Many of the vehicles registered were delivered to operators working on the front line of the viral pandemic, including fleets for the NHS, emergency services, pharmaceutical, food distribution and home delivery services.

The SMMT’s forecast expects a 28% reduction in the market during 2020, with 263,000 registrations.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “These figures, while not surprising, are still shocking.

“Restoring business confidence and delivering the safe restart of retail operations will be key to kick-starting demand.”