The UK new van market recorded its second-best August on record last month despite supply issues, according to a leading industry body. Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show more than 20,000 new light commercial vehicles were registered in what is normally a quiet month.

According to the data, last month saw 20,582 new light vans and pick-up trucks weighing up to 3.5 tonnes registered in the UK. That was up 6.1 percent on the 19,407 that hit the roads during the same month last year.

As usual, light vans weighing between 2.5 and 3.5 tonnes took the lion’s share of the sales, accounting for almost seven in every 10 registrations. A total of 14,159 examples of such vans hit the road last month, eclipsing the next-largest section of the market by more than 11,000 units.

Ford Transit Connect

Speaking of which, vehicles weighing 2-2.5 tonnes were the second most popular vehicle in the market, with 2,889 registered. Pick-up trucks followed close behind, with just shy of 2,500 vehicles registered last month. Both types of vehicle were more popular than at the same time last year, up 4.7 percent and 9.8 percent respectively.

This growth comes despite a global semiconductor shortage, which has already wreaked havoc on the new car market. New van production was also down in July, with manufacturers unable to build vehicles without the microchips left in such short supply by the coronavirus pandemic.

Even so, during the first eight months of 2021, new van registrations are up on the same period last year. Sales are up by more than 50 percent, and they’re up 2.6 percent on the five-year pre-pandemic average. However, they remain a mere four percent down on the bumper year seen in 2019.

“This year has proved to be one of the best ever for new van registrations, buoyed by strong demand and growing confidence as the economy continues to open up,” said SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes. “The impact of the semiconductor shortage on manufacturing is affecting commercial vehicle production, however, even if it is not immediately apparent in the registration figures. With even more new zero emission models coming to market, the choices available for fleet renewal are increasing rapidly, which can play a significant role in helping the UK meet its ambitious emissions reduction targets.”

Opel Vivaro-e (2020)