“December’s figures ends what has been a very successful year for light commercial sales, as often sales and registrations of LCVs fall off in the lead up to Christmas,” 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 December, Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV) dealers registered a total of 29,701 new vans and light commercials, an increase of 36.1%. This is the twelfth consecutive month of registration growth.

For 2023, year-to-date figures reveal 341,455 new LCVs are on the road this year, an increase of 21%.

The heavier sectors of LCVs have improved substantially, with 2.0-2.5t sized vans rising to 4,905 units from 2,436 units, a 101.4 % increase. The heavier, and most popular sized vans (2.5-3.5t) increased to 18,054 units from 16,377 units, a 10.2% increase.

December’s registration figures experienced an increase in the number of battery electric commercials registered, up 73.8% to 2,964 units. Whilst the volume for EV vans has increased to 20,253 units this year, it still only represents 5.9% of the total market share.

Sue Robinson added: “However, it should be noted that the year-to-date market share for battery electric vans has remained at 5.9%, representing no change from the previous year. This does not appear to be a good omen, especially with the implementation of the ZEV mandate this week, which will require each qualifying brand to meet a target of 10% of van sales being zero-emissions or face penalties.

“In 2024, the Government will need to provide more clarity to LCV drivers looking to make the switch to electric.

“The impetus to drive the transition to zero-emissions for LCVs very much depends on the Government appreciating that outside the larger cities and towns, buyers of BEV commercials need the reassurance that there will be sufficient charging infrastructure to use EV vans on longer journeys.”