Light commercial vehicle registrations fell by -74.1% in May as the pandemic continued to affect demand and availability.

The new light commercial vehicle market declined by -74.1% in May as 7,541 units were registered according to latest SMMT’s LCV registration figures. This was a slight improvement from April when sales declined by -86.2%. The two months of lockdown have brought year-to-date figures to an overall -49.6% decline from last year.

Each segment of the light commercial vehicle sector performed below expectations. Smaller vans under 2.0 tonnes, 4x4s and pickups, which are often bought by semi-retail and self-employed professionals had the steepest declines, -84.0%, -83.8% and -80.3% respectively.

Vans weighing 2.5-3.5 tonnes, which represent the largest segment in volume terms, fared slightly better with a decline of -70.4%. These vehicles are usually purchased by big fleets and many of these operators are waiting for the market to improve post-pandemic before placing volume orders.

As dealerships reopen and demand improves, supply could become an issue because many of these vehicles are built in the EU and the return to production varies across countries.

We expect the market to gradually recover as many fleets and operators are aware of the need for environmentally friendly light commercials as ‘clean air zones’ are reintroduced, and also many consumers have become more comfortable with online purchases during the lockdown.