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LCV Market Grows in March to Continue the Upward Trend

In the best March for three years, Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV) registrations have increased by 11.1% to 52,916 units.

The increase was almost across the board, with only medium vans showing a slight downturn. All other categories showed increases year-on-year, with large vans up by 16.1% and small vans by 44.8%.

The new 24 registration plate, combined with some new model releases, has likely accounted for many new registrations, with a strong focus on large models. The 2.5t to 3.5t category accounted for 35,592 units of the 52,916 total – more than two thirds of the entire market.

Registration volumes are close to returning to 2019 numbers, with totals at just 7.7% below Q1 2019. This strongly indicates that both supply and demand are returning the pre-pandemic levels, a good sign of the overall health of the LCV market.

There was similarly a strong increase in the number of battery electric vehicle (BEV) registrations. Again, likely due to the new registration plate alongside new model releases, BEV numbers increased 14.7% from 2,534 in March 2023 to 2,906 this year. This has increased market share from 5.3% to 5.5%.

The Zero Emissions Mandate, which sets targets for manufacturer sales of zero emissions vehicles, will begin to add pressure onto manufacturers if the market share does not increase naturally. However, without additional government action to increase consumer confidence in BEVs, electric van uptake might be too slow.

Hurdles such as charge point availability and charging costs must be overcome If businesses are to transition their fleets to net zero, and it is this infrastructure that seems to be the current bottleneck.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,

“A strong new plate month with the greatest number of zero emission vans joining UK roads is a bellwether of the sector’s progress, cutting emissions while keeping British businesses on the move. Industry is ready to deliver further, but with green uptake still below mandated levels, swift action is needed to give new van buyers the confidence to go electric. Rapid delivery of van-suitable public charging points and removing the hurdle of taxation on their use are key to greener fleets and a greener future.”