The United Kingdom's automotive sector experienced a notable upswing in February, achieving its most robust performance for the month in over two decades. According to the latest data released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the demand for new light commercial vehicles in Britain also saw a notable uptick, marking 14 consecutive months of growth.

In February, UK registrations for new LCVs surged by 2.2 per cent to reach 17,934 units, defying the traditional slump associated with the month. This increase represents the sector’s strongest February performance since 1998.

Gallery: 2024 Ford Transit (Europe)

UK’s best-selling LCV models in February 2024:

1. Ford Transit – 1,838

2. Ford Transit Custom – 1,611

3. Mercedes-Benz Sprinter – 1,325

4. Vauxhall Vivaro – 1,173

5. Toyota Hilux – 836

6. Maxus Deliver 9 – 779

7. Ford Ranger – 741

8. Citroen Berlingo – 701

9. Citroen Dispatch – 626

10. Ford Transit Connect – 578

Among the notable trends highlighted in the SMMT report, registrations of vans weighing between 2.5 to 3.5 tonnes experienced a 1.4 per cent rise, comprising nearly 70 per cent of all new vans. Conversely, smaller van categories witnessed declines, with small vans (up to and including 2.0 tonnes) plummeting by 20.5 per cent and medium-sized vans (greater than 2.0 to 2.5 tonnes) declining by 5.9 per cent.

The report also indicated a significant surge in the 4x4 segment, with registrations more than doubling, recording a staggering 108.3 per cent increase. Pickups emerged as the third most popular class of commercial vehicles, experiencing a notable 21.2 per cent rise. Amidst efforts towards zero-emission targets, February witnessed a slight decline in registrations of battery electric vans weighing up to 3.5 tonnes.

UK new van sales, February 2024

UK’s best-selling LCV models year-to-date

1. Ford Transit Custom – 4,267

2. Ford Transit – 3,736

3. Vauxhall Vivaro – 2,785

4. Mercedes-Benz Sprinter – 2,560

5. Citroen Berlingo – 2,299

6. Ford Ranger – 2,225

7. Toyota Hilux – 1,997

8. Volkswagen Transporter – 1,746

9. Ford Transit Connect – 1,259

10. Maxus Deliver 9 – 1,235

"Britain’s appetite for new vans remains undiminished with 14 months of growth and, with last month’s rethink of taxation for pickups, expansion looks to be sustained. However, this growth and confidence must be translated into zero-emission vehicles if we are to deliver our green goals. Maintenance of essential incentives and a ramp-up of dedicated van-suitable chargepoint installation will be vital if we are to help keep long-term, net zero fleet investment moving forward at the pace needed," Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, comments.