• Light commercial vehicle (LCV) registrations rise by 17.3% to 47,634 units in the third month of successive growth.
  • YTD market grows 17.4% to 87,272 units but remains -15.1% below pre-pandemic 2019 Q1 as erratic supply chain issues continue.

The latest light commercial vehicle (LCV) sales numbers are encouraging, especially since they mark a third consecutive month of growth. Q1 has got the year off to a good start!

With its new plate, March is always a high volume time and the ’23 plate’ vans did not disappoint, with sales up by over 17%. I appreciate that we are talking year-on-year growth and that supply issues constrained sales last year. I also know that we cannot ignore that they are below pre-pandemic levels. Nevertheless, I am encouraged.

March 2023 saw van buyers facing the continuing spectre of recession, albeit such concerns have not come to fruition to date. Add to this the desire of many businesses to switch to Electric vans that have been in short supply, and where the outlook suggests longer range models are in the pipeline, I see room for positivity.

Demand was up across all segments, apart from vans weighing up to and including 2.0 tonnes. It is the area where we can expect to see battery electric vans becoming more popular. While the segment was down, perhaps the growth in electric vans provides a nod to the trend ahead. Deliveries of battery electric vans were up by 32.7%.

The recent publication of the UK’s Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandate will only increase the demand for battery vans. The ZEV mandate set annual sales targets for manufacturers from 2024 to 2030. In 2024, these targets will be 22% for cars and 10% for vans. These targets will be increased to 80% and 70% in 2030, respectively. The start point comes into force in less than nine months.

One final thought on positivity; the demand for new and used vans, and we see strong demand for used vans across our network, is always an excellent barometer for the broader UK economy. One swallow does not make it Spring, but the sound, or lack of it for battery-powered vans, has undoubtedly helped my optimism.

Debbie McKay, Commercial Director of Motor Sales

Trustpilot reviews