Van demand levels off

Figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that demand in the van sector has levelled-off following an all-time record high in 2015.

After a record 2015, registrations of vans in the UK levelled off in January with a 4.3% fall in demand compared with the same month last year.

21,102 new light commercial vehicles (LCVs) were registered in January – the first month of decline since July 2015. Demand for vans below 2.0 tonnes and between 2.0-2.5 tonnes fell by 11.8% and 23.3% respectively in the month, but better news came from the 2.5-3.5 tonne market – the sector’s largest – where a 2.1% increase in registrations continued the trend towards heavier vehicles, driven by operators’ desire to maximise fleet efficiency.

Placed in context, demand for vans remains at a very high level. In 2015, an all-time high of 371,830 vehicles were registered as attractive finance deals and the growth in online shopping encouraged firms to invest in their fleets.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, ‘On the heels of a record-breaking 2015, which saw LCV registrations grow by an impressive 15.6%, January’s levelling off in demand comes as no surprise, and is indicative of what we can expect for the coming year. The overall market remains very strong, with business confidence high and the trend for home deliveries still growing.’

Sue Robinson, director of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) which represents commercial vehicle and franchised car retailers across the UK, said, ‘It is important to remember that the 2015 CV market exceeded all expectations, and therefore it may now be the case that registrations are beginning to return to normal.

‘The NFDA CV division look forward to seeing what the market has in store for 2016, and if it can build on the success of 2015.’