The UK’s new light commercial vehicle market declined in February, falling 4.3% to 13,291 registrations, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
The downturn followeds an exceptionally strong performance in 2016 when the sector recorded an eight-year high in registrations.
Reversing the trend seen in previous months, demand for heavier vans fell, with registrations of vehicles weighing 2.5-3.5t down 1.3%. However, the segment remained the most popular, accounting for 65.8% of market share. Small vans under 2.0t experienced a decline, falling 28.5% while pick-up registrations remained the same at 1,350 units. Meanwhile, demand for mid-sized vans grew, with registrations of 2-2.5t vehicles increasing 9.0%.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “February is typically a quiet month as buyers look ahead to the  March [’17’] plate change and, following the rapidly growing levels of demand we’ve seen over the past two years, a decline is not unexpected. The sector remains in good health and, barring any shocks to business confidence, we expect demand to remain strong over the coming months.”