Sales of light commercial vehicles declined in the traditionally quiet month of August due to the arrival of the new ‘70’ number plate in September and a number of external factors.
The light commercial vehicle market declined by -16.1% in August to 19,407 units. All LCV segments saw a decrease in registrations. Sales of pick-ups & 4x4s, which are small volume sectors, saw marginal declines of -2.4% and -3.1% respectively.
Mid-size vans weighing 2.0 - 2.5t saw a modest decline of -3.2%, with just 92 fewer vans going on the road compared with last year.
The largest declines were visible in the small car-derived vans under 2.0 tonnes segment, down 35%, and the largest LCV sector, the maximum weight vehicles 2.5 – 3.5t, where sales declined by 18.2%, a reduction of nearly 3,000 units. Many of these vehicles are used for online deliveries, a sector that thrived during the pandemic, as a result, supply issues could be the cause of the decline.
Also, daily rental companies have reported an uplift in demand for their vehicles. These vans are often being used for “last mile” online deliveries, and therefore retained by customers for longer than usual. This has had a detrimental effect on sales as well as on the much-needed used LCV stock for dealers.
Although most businesses have reopened since the lockdown, there remains uncertainty in a number of sectors where businesses are holding back as they are not feeling confident to invest in new commercials.
Additionally, since many factories have only just restarted to manufacture commercial vehicles, customers who are not ordering standard specifications may face longer waiting times.
Going forward, dealers are optimistic that the LCV market will recover, and business confidence as well as supply issues will improve.