The UK new van market only shrank slightly in October despite the ongoing effects of the global chip shortage. That’s according to new figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which show more than 27,400 new light commercial vehicles (LCVs) were registered in the UK last month.
That figure represented a marginal decline of 4.6 percent compared with the same month last year, when 28,753 new LCVs were registered. Although that is the second consecutive month of decline for the market, it’s a less dramatic drop in sales than September, and it’s 2.3 percent up on the five-year pre-pandemic average for the month of October.
According to the SMMT, the continuing reduction in registrations is partly down to the global semiconductor shortage, which has also impacted the passenger car market. As a result, the SMMT has downgraded its forecast for the LCV market for 2021 by over 20,000 to 340,000 units.
Over the first 10 months of 2021, almost 295,000 new light commercial vehicles were registered – an increase of 24.4 percent compared with the same period in 2020. But more than two-thirds of those vehicles were vans weighing between 2.5 and 3.5 tonnes, the most popular vehicles in the market
That means more than 200,000 of those vehicles have already hit the road this year, with more expected over the final two months. The next-largest portion of the market – 2-2.5-tonne vans has seen just 38,629 examples registered over the past 10 months.
The third most popular light commercial vehicles, however, are not vans at all, but pick-up trucks. In total, more than 36,000 pick-ups have been registered in the UK during the first 10 months of the year – up 16.1 percent on the same part of 2020.
Mike Hawes, the SMMT’s chief executive, said the small decline in UK commercial vehicle sales was a shame, but demand remained strong compared with previous years. In particular, he pointed out the lengths manufacturers are going to in order to fulfil orders.
“While it’s disappointing to see the number of new vans registered during October decline, demand has remained strong over the course of the year,” he said. “The commercial vehicle sector, however, is not immune to the challenges faced by the industry as a whole, most notably the semiconductor shortage. Manufacturers are working hard to fulfil orders to ensure fleets can continue to be renewed and the latest models, including zero emission products, hit UK roads.”