The UK new light commercial vehicle (LCV) market has risen for the sixth consecutive month, growing by 31% to 34,630 units in the best June since 2019, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

169,926 new vans, pickups and 4x4s were registered in the first half of 2023, up 17.7% year on year, as once persistent supply chain shortages eased.

Registrations of the largest LCVs, weighing greater than 2.5 to 3.5 tonnes, rose by 15.6% to 23,640 units to account for 68.3% of the market in June, while registrations of medium-sized vans weighing more than 2.0 to 2.5 tonnes reached 6,291 units, up 160.8%. Conversely, lighter vans weighing less than or equal to 2.0 tonnes fell 42.8%, the only segment to decline and the one which has seen demand fall consistently as operators favour larger workhorses with the potential for greater cost efficiency.

Pickups and 4x4s, meanwhile, increased by 40.8% and 180.1% respectively.

Despite overall growth, demand for battery electric vans (BEVs) fell 11.9% in the month to 1,775 units, even with a growing number of models on the market. This brings the total of all electric vans registered so far this year to 8,803 units, a year on year increase of 703 but a market share decline to 5.2% year to date.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “As we reach the year’s midway mark, the surge in light commercial vehicle registrations is good news and delivers continued optimism to the market. The fall in electric van uptake just at the time when we need it to grow is, however, very concerning. Despite the continued availability of the plug in van grant, more needs to be done to give operators the confidence to make the switch. This means a long term plan which supports purchase and helps overcome some of the barriers to the installation of van suitable charging infrastructure, given the unique needs of this sector.”

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By GlobalData