Almost 28,000 new vans were sold in the UK in April, an 11.7% year on year rise, according to The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

April was the third consecutive month of growth for the sector in 2016, following a record performance in 2015. So far this year 3.3% more light commercial vehicles (LCVs) have been registered in the UK compared with the first four months of 2015.

Heavier vans continue to rise in popularity, with registrations for the 2.5-3.5 tonnes segment up 22.6% last month. These larger vehicles accounted for 60% of all the vans registered to date. Pickups also performed well in April with 35.4% growth, helping to offset a decline in the 2.0-2.5 tonnes segment.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: "Following a quieter start to 2016, it is positive to see the van market picking up with a third consecutive month of growth in April, once again fuelled by increased demand for larger LCVs. The 3.3% rise in registrations during the first four months of the year places the sector in a strong position and on track to maintain stable growth throughout 2016."