The number of UK light commercial vehicles (LCV) registered in the UK grew for the seventh consecutive month in July, increasing by 44.2% year on year to 26,990 units, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
In the best July since 2020, registrations were also up 4.4% compared with pre-pandemic 2019 volume, a result of rising demand for new vans, pickups and 4x4s and the easing of supply chain issues constraining production.
The largest volume growth was recorded for medium size vans weighing greater than 2.0 to 2.5 tonnes, which more than trebled, up 227.4% in the month.
Registrations of the largest LCVs, weighing greater than 2.5 to 3.5 tonnes, increased by 29.3% to 19,111 units and accounted for 70.8% of the market registered in the month.
Deliveries of 4x4s and pickups also saw growth, up 159.3% and 48.3% respectively, while registrations of vans weighing up to and including 2.0 tonnes were the only segment to decline, falling (40.9%) to 427 units.
Battery electric vans (BEVs) soared 94.6% to 1,489 units and a 5.5% market share, up from 4.1% last year. 10,292 BEVs have been registered so far in 2023, an increase of 16.1% year on year, although market share has decreased marginally from 5.4% to 5.2% in the year to date.
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Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “Following a solid first half, van sales have enjoyed an extremely positive month, beating even pre-pandemic levels. The challenge now is to deliver even greater EV uptake.”
An updated market outlook, just published, predicts LCV registrations rising by 16.1% to an expected 328,000 units this year, a modest rise of 0.6% on April’s view, although deliveries for 2024 have been trimmed (5.2%) to 329,000.
While semiconductor shortages have eased, operators continue to face challenging operating conditions, including rising energy and operational costs and few incentives.
Anticipated BEV share has also been trimmed slightly from 7.4% to 7.1% for this year. However, in 2024 BEVs are still expected to comprise 11.2% of all registrations.