The UK new van market endured another month of year-on-year decline in August, leaving the sector without a month of growth in 2022. Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) showed last month’s registrations were down by almost a quarter compared with the same month in 2021.
According to the SMMT data, just over 15,500 new light commercial vehicles (LCVs), including vans and pick-up trucks, were registered in the UK last month. That’s a reduction of 24.6 percent compared with August 2021, when more than 20,000 new LCVs were registered. The result means sales have declined in comparison with 2021 every month this year.
August is traditionally a quiet month for the market anyway, thanks to the introduction of the new number plates on September 1, but this year’s figures should be viewed in context. Last year was a bumper year for sales as firms bounced back from the coronavirus pandemic, and comparatively slow sales are perhaps to be expected – particularly in light of the ongoing supply chain issues caused by the pandemic and war in Ukraine.
As usual, the largest light vans weighing between 2.5 and 3.5 tonnes, took the lion’s share of sales, with more than 12,000 examples registered last month. Although that’s a 14-percent decline compared with August 2021, it means these vehicles accounted for 78 percent of all LCVs registered last month.
Over the first eight months of 2022, new LCV registrations fell by 24.2 percent, with 178,626 new vehicles hitting UK roads. Predictably, the vast majority of those were vans weighing 2.5-3.5 tonnes.
The SMMT has blamed the poor performance partly on the supply chain issues faced by manufacturing industries worldwide, and on the comparison with 2021. Mike Hawes, the SMMT’s chief executive, said the success of 2021 had left the industry with a tough act to follow, but that was being exacerbated by supply chain issues and economic problems.
“Last year’s bumper LCV market meant it was always going to be challenging to repeat that success in 2022,” he said, “and increasingly strong economic headwinds and supply chain challenges continue to test the market. Good progress is being made in the transition to electric, but accelerating the switch will need action from the new prime minister to tackle energy costs and inflation, while also encouraging greater charging infrastructure rollout, so that businesses can have greater confidence to upgrade their van fleets to cleanest, greenest models.”