Commercial vehicle registrations here in the UK rose 17.4% year on year in May to 31,922 units.

It was the fifth consecutive monthly uplift for truck sales - up 35.9% to 3,962 while vans rose 15.1% to 27,960. Year to date sales were up 20.7% to 150,662 for vans and 40.4% to 18,543 truck registrations.

The largest gains were at the heavier ends of each market segment as an operator efficiency drive continued.

"It is an indication of just how strongly the commercial vehicle sector has performed in recent months that May’s 17.4% rise in registrations is actually the lowest so far in 2015," said Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive.

"Van market growth in particular remains robust, with year to date registrations up by more than a fifth - passing the 150,000 mark in May for the first time on record.

"Truck demand is also up by a staggering 35.9% as fleet operators continue to push for maximum space and efficiency. The biggest gains in the month were again made in the heavier ends of the van and rigid truck markets with a 35.6% fall in two axle artics balanced by a 35.6% rise in those with three axles."

  May % change Year-to-date % change Rolling year
Vans 27,960 15.1% 150,662 20.7% 347,528
Trucks 3,962 35.9% 18,543 40.4% 46,805
Total 31,922 17.4% 169,205 22.6% 394,333

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