12 Jul 2024
The voice of the independent garage sector

New vans in bumper month for fleet renewal

Over 50,000 new light commercial vehicles drove onto the UK’s roads last month as more businesses upgraded to the latest models than in any other month for the past three years, latest figures from the SMMT show.

Nearly 53,000 new vans, 4x4s and pickups were registered, up by just over 11% as Britons increasingly depend on vans for everything from online shopping to local trades, the SMMT said on April 4.

As a result, the van sector in 2024 delivered its best first quarter for three years, with volumes now just -7.7% below the first quarter of 2019.

Registrations were driven by popular demand for the largest models — those weighing more than 2.5 tonnes to 3.5 tonnes — up more than 16% to represent more than two thirds (over 67%) of the market.

The biggest percentage increase in uptake was of the smallest vans, up nearly 45% to 986 units, while demand for medium-sized vans fell slightly by -3.6% to 8,939 units.

Pick-up volumes increased to 5,767, up 0.1% compared with a particularly strong month last year, while demand for the latest 4x4s rose by nearly 30% to 1,632 units.

Meanwhile, more fleets went green in March than in any other new numberplate month to date, with new battery electric vans continuing to rise, up nearly 15% to 2,906 units, SMMT said.

Chief executive Mike Hawes said a strong new plate month with the greatest number of zero emission vans joining UK roads was a bellwether of the sector’s progress, cutting emissions while keeping British businesses on the move.

“Industry is ready to deliver further, but with green uptake still below mandated levels, swift action is needed to give new van buyers the confidence to go electric.”

The SMMT said a national plan for van-suitable charging points is crucial to tackling fleet-charging anxiety.