Sales of new light commercial vehicles in the UK grew 22% year on year in February 2021, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

February usually is one of the year's weaker months as many operators wait for the updated March number plate but last month was the strongest February for LCV sales since 1998 with 17,205 new units reaching roads as demand from the construction sector and online deliveries drove uptake.

Larger vans weighing more than 2.5-3.5 tonnes and pickups experienced the biggest surge in demand, up 30.0% to 11,809 and 26.8% to 1,716 units respectively. Meanwhile 4x4s and medium sized van registrations were up a moderate 6.3% and 9.0%. It was a different picture for smaller vans weighing less than or equal to 2.0 tonnes, which were down 25.3% to just 689 vehicles registered in the month. 
Performance year to date was up 9.5% to 41,234 units overall, driven entirely by demand for popular 2.5-3.5t vans with 6,069 of those registered in the first two months of the year. However, the rest of the market continued to fall, struggling to overcome the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on business confidence.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: "These figures are welcome news but it's important to remember that February is typically a small volume month ahead of the March plate change and we want to see this growth continue throughout the year. Capitalising on this momentum will be important and an economic plan that encourages growth could help pivot the LCV market toward full recovery. With a clear roadmap now in place for how the nation can safely emerge out of lockdown, businesses can look to the next few months with increasing confidence and upgrade their fleets with the many latest, most efficient vans on the market."

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By GlobalData