The UK's light commercial vehicle (LCV) market witnessed a remarkable surge in registrations during the plate-change month of September. Business optimism, coupled with a strong drive to modernise van fleets to comply with increasingly stringent low-emission regulations, has played a pivotal role in driving this surge,

During September, LCV dealers collectively registered a total of 44,760 new vans and light commercial vehicles, marking an impressive growth rate of 28.1%. This robust performance marks the ninth consecutive month of registration growth. Year-to-date data reveals that a total of 257,979 new LCVs have hit the roads this year, reflecting a substantial year-on-year increase of 20.8%.

Intriguingly, the heavier segments of LCVs have demonstrated significant improvement. Specifically, vans falling within the 2.0-2.5-ton category witnessed a remarkable surge, with registrations increasing from 3,748 units to 7,085 units, constituting an 89% upswing. This shift can be attributed to several manufacturers expanding the gross plated weight (GVW) of their LCVs, thus entering the competitive mid-sector of 2.0 – 2.5 tons. Moreover, the larger, widely favored vans within the 2.5-3.5-ton category, often sought after by fleet operators for online deliveries, reported a notable rise from 34,950 units to 29,150 units, reflecting a 13% increase.

Despite being a smaller market segment, 4x4 vehicles experienced remarkable year-on-year growth, with 1,296 units on the road compared to the previous year's 536 units, signifying an impressive 141.8% increase.

Notably, September also witnessed a surge in the registration of battery electric commercial vehicles, with an astonishing 85.9% increase, resulting in 2,882 units. While the volume of electric vans has grown to 14,296 units this year, it still constitutes only 5.5% of the market share, reflecting a modest 0.2% increase from the previous year.

Sue Robinson said: “In recent discussions with van operators, it is the sheer price difference between diesel and electric light commercial that is holding back electric van adoption. On average, EV light commercials are a third more expensive than their diesel equivalent; it is therefore crucial that government intervenes with attractive price incentives to support the businesses and motorists in making their necessary switch to electric.”

Source: SMMT