“The light commercial market is a good barometer of the state of the economy, and it is positive to see the market deliver its best February performance in 26 years” said Sue Robinson, Chief Executive of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle retailers in the UK commenting on the latest SMMT’s new van registration figures.

In February, Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV) dealers registered a total of 17,934 new vans and light commercials, a modest increase of 2.2%. This is the fourteenth consecutive month of registration growth.

For 2024, year-to-date figures reveal 41,896 new LCVs are on the road this year, an increase of 5.7%.

The light and mid-weight sectors of LCVs decreased, with small vans up to 2.0 tonnes down -20.5% and mid-size LCVs 2.0-2.5t decreasing to 3,162 units from 3,361 units, a -5.9% decrease. The heavier, and most popular sized vans (2.5-3.5t) rose to 12,300 units from 12,125 units, a 1.4% increase.

February’s registration figures experienced a decrease in the number of battery electric commercials registered, down -12.3% to 847 units. Whilst the volume for EV vans has increased to 2,033 units this year (3.8% change year to date), it still only represents 4.9% of the volume of the total market share, equal to last year’s market share.

Sue Robinson added: “It is concerning to see sales of electric in the light commercial market remain at 4.9%, same to the market share from this time last year.

“With the impact of the ZEV mandate requiring 10% of LCVs sold in 2024 to be electric, there needs to be more impetus from the Government to create financial incentives to encourage van buyers to make the switch.

“Tomorrow’s Spring Budget provides an ample opportunity for the Government to address this. NFDA has repeatedly called for the introduction of price incentives to increase consumer confidence in EVs, notably in NFDA’s Spring Budget Submission.”