“It is reassuring to see the new light commercial market up to 3.5 tonnes recover in June with a 1.8% increase after four months of decline. In the first half of the year, the market is still -3.7% down on 2016, but remains stable”, said Sue Robinson, Director of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle dealers in the UK, commenting on the latest SMMT’s light commercial vehicle registration figures.
Light commercial vehicle registrations rose by 1.8% in June to 37,349 units. Year to date, the market remains lower than last year by -3.7% with a total of 184,926 units registered in the first six months of 2017.
It is positive to see the mid-size vans of 2.0-2.5 tonnes perform well in June with a growth of 29.9% and a total of 6,188 units registered. The segment showed a consistent growth of 4.9% over the first half of the year with 26,944 units. These vehicles tend to be purchased by businesses in the service industry which use them primarily to carry tools and ladders rather than transport goods and parcels.
Following 17 consecutive months of growth, demand for pickups remained buoyant in June, up 14.2% on the same period last year and 18.2% overall this year. The volumes registered in this sector are formidable with nearly 5,000 units registered in June and 27,050 put on the road in the first six months of 2017. These results make pickups the second largest segment of the market. The growth in this sector could be driven by a wide range of single double-cab pickups offered by most manufacturers and many tradesmen taking advantage of the lower benefit-in-kind taxation which these dual-purpose commercials offer.
The decline in demand for vans between 2.5-3.5 tonnes is still of concern. Following a substantial double digit decrease in May, the sector was down by -5.4% in June and is now -4.4% lower than last year. These vehicles dominate the corporate and fleet market, where many of them are used for internet deliveries in all sectors including door-to-door supermarket deliveries.
The Ford Transit Custom was the market leader in June followed by the Mercedes Sprinter and the large Transit variant. Ford saw its sales grow by 8.4% in June compared with the same period in 2016. With this result, it remains the market leader with a share of over 32% this year. Ford is followed by Volkswagen, Peugeot and Mercedes with market shares of 11.3%, 9.6%, and 8.1%, respectively.
Robinson added, “Positively, some important segments of the light commercial vehicle market came back strong in June, while others continued to perform well. Going forward, we expect demand to remain at similar levels.”
NOTES TO EDITORS:
Gabriele Severini, NFDA Communications Officer
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The Retail Motor Industry represents the interests of operators in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man providing sales and services to motorists and businesses. The RMI has a formal association with the independent Scottish Motor Trade Association which represents the retail motor industry in Scotland.