â€œLight commercial vehicles registrations fell by -5.3% in May, in what is a possible realignment of a market which was extremely buoyant last year. Ahead of the elections, dealers report a degree of uncertainty for customers who are likely to delay the purchase of a new van, as they are looking for reassurances and a more stable economyâ€, 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 SMMTâ€™s light commercial vehicle registration figures.
Light commercial vehicle registrations declined by -5.3% in May with 26,982 new units registered. Year to date the performance is very similar, with a decline of -5.0% on last year.
Demand for pick-ups has been increasing dramatically this year, up 26.2% in May and 19% in the first five months of 2017, there appears to be no direct business reason for this, unless buyers are substituting conventional vans for pick-ups. This is now the second largest segment in terms of volume of vehicles registered with 22,230 units registered year to date. It is followed by the established mid-size vans of 2.0-2.5 tonnes, with 20,756 vehicles registered so far this year.
It is concerning to see that the largest sector of light commercials, comprising vans between 2.5-3.5 tonnes, which make up around 60% of all light commercialsâ€™ sales, slipped by -10.1% in May and was down -4.2% year to date.Â This might represent just a stabilisation, while vehicles are ordered by corporates and larger businesses which use them mostly for internet deliveries in all sectors including door-to-door supermarket deliveries.
Ford, with its wide range of commercials, remains the market leader with a share of around 32% this year. However, it is showing a modest decline in volume of -1.3%. Year to date, Mercedes vans have shown great resilience with growth of 6.2% which takes their market share to 6.7%.
Robinson added, â€œWe will be looking closely at the light commercial vehicle market in the forthcoming months as we expect consumer confidence to pick up in the post-election period.â€