The UK’s light commercial vehicle (LCV) market experienced a downturn in June 2024, with registrations dropping by 4.5 per cent to 33,066 units, according to figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). This decline marks the end of an impressive 17-month streak of continuous growth in the sector.

Despite the setback in June, the LCV market has demonstrated resilience throughout the first half of the year. From January to June, the market saw a 4.5 per cent increase, with a total of 177,620 new vans, pickups, and 4x4s registered. This performance is the strongest since 2021, indicating robust overall demand.

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

  1. Ford Transit Custom - 4,954
  2. Ford Transit - 2,730
  3. Mercedes-Benz Sprinter - 1,911
  4. Renault Trafic - 1,888
  5. Peugeot Partner - 1,703
  6. Ford Ranger - 1,686
  7. Vauxhall Combo - 1,580
  8. Vauxhall Vivaro - 1,450
  9. VW Transporter - 1,274
  10. Ford Transit Connect - 1,116

The sharp drop in June can be partly attributed to the extraordinary performance in June 2023, when the market surged as the industry rebounded from COVID-19 related disruptions. This year’s comparison is thus somewhat skewed, making the decline appear more pronounced.

Examining the specifics, demand varied significantly across different vehicle segments. Registrations for vans weighing between 2.0 to 2.5 tonnes rose by a notable 14.0 per cent to 7,169 units, while those for vans weighing 2.0 tonnes or less soared by an impressive 58.7 per cent to 806 units. Conversely, the largest segment – vans weighing between 2.5 and 3.5 tonnes, which represent two-thirds of the market – saw a decline of 8.3 per cent, totalling 21,677 units. Pickups and 4x4s also faced declines, with registrations falling by 18.1 per cent and 20.3 per cent, respectively.

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

  1. Ford Transit Custom - 22,139
  2. Ford Transit - 15,983
  3. Ford Ranger - 10,338
  4. Mercedes-Benz Sprinter - 9,119
  5. Vauxhall Vivaro - 8,700
  6. VW Transporter - 8,276
  7. Renault Trafic - 7,130
  8. Citroen Berlingo - 6,766
  9. Ford Transit Connect - 6,350
  10. Vauxhall Combo - 5,724

“The best first half of a year since 2021 is great news for a market so intrinsic to economic growth, but this optimism will only continue if action is taken to re-energise zero-emission van demand. A new government provides an opportunity to bolster the market with a strategy to grow the UK’s van-specific charging network at pace and maintain essential fiscal incentives to keep this vital market on track, without which our net zero ambitions will be at risk,” Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, commented.

UK new van sales, June 2024

UK new van sales, June 2024

Speaking of EVs, the performance of battery electric vans was particularly concerning in June. BEV registrations dropped for the third consecutive month, down 16.8 per cent year-on-year to 1,476 units in June. Consequently, BEVs accounted for just 4.7 per cent of all new light van registrations in the first half of 2024, a decrease from 5.2 per cent during the same period last year.