LCV market hit by supply shortages

The UK light commercial vehicle (LCV) market declined in March by 27.6% to 40,613 units .

According to the latest figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the scale of the fall is amplified by comparison with March last year, when pent-up demand contributed to the largest increase in LCV registrations since 1999.

Supply and delivery issues continue to hamper the sector, including the global shortage of semiconductors and those affecting construction, logistics and shipping, with the March market 38.6% down on pre-pandemic 2019.

Meanwhile, the cyclical process of LCV fleet renewal has contributed naturally to a slower first quarter this year, following a period of robust post-pandemic recovery in 2021.

At the end of the first quarter this year, LCV registrations are down by 23.6% after three months of consecutive decline compared with a strong start in 2021, when the construction and home delivery sectors were significant drivers of demand, while quarter one  in 2022 represents a 27.6% fall on pre-pandemic 2019.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “The light commercial vehicle market has made a slower start to 2022 compared with the first quarter of last year, reflecting the cyclical nature of fleet operator investment, amid global supply shortages and increasing economic pressures. Targeted support from government is needed to encourage fleet renewal and a full zero emission van market. The expansion of the Plug-in Van Grant will be a positive for the sector, but equally there needs to be a greater roll-out of suitable chargepoints to ensure fleet and self-employed van operators in all regions can make the transition.”