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Van Market Starts the Year with Period of Growth

The LCV market is predicted to grow strongly this year after early signs of improvement.

UK new light commercial vehicle registrations grew 25.8%, year-on-year, to 22,098 units in January, according to the latest figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

This is the first rise in new LCV registrations since September last year (which was partly driven by the registration plate change). January’s figures can often be misleading due to it being a common fleet renewal month (which can vary year to year) but this is expected to be the beginning of a strong year.

Aside from small vans, registrations increased across all categories, with the 2.5t to 3.5t range being the most popular. Large van registrations rose 34.1% to 15,538 units, dominating this month’s numbers.

Electric van registrations continue to increase, showing a 53.5% increase over the same period last year. While uptake is slow, with market share still only 4.5%, it is improving gradually. The latest market outlook predicts around 28,000 BEV units will be registered in 2023, which is a 64.5% increase over last year.

However, according to the SMMT, this BEV uptake is at risk of stalling if there is insufficient infrastructure to support it. Fast, affordable EV charge points are essential to give van drivers confidence they can charge their vehicles whenever they need. The SMMT also want purchase incentives to remain as another way to drive the switch to zero emissions vehicles.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “The LCV sector is already delivering growth for the UK in 2023, bucking the recessional economic trends. Manufacturers have invested billions to bring choice to the market, especially in electrified vehicles, so harnessing this momentum will be essential to an increasingly green recovery. Accelerating electric van uptake means delivering infrastructure and incentives to give every van operator the confidence to make the switch.”

Van Ninja has seen an increase in demand throughout January which has continued so far into February. This shows confidence in the SMMT’s prediction of a strong 2023. Manufacturers are still lagging behind in factory order delivery times, but stock availability is improving.

We would still advise any business that requires a van urgently to choose from existing stock rather than order, as orders remain 9 to 12 months away. Stock variety is growing, with most vehicle sizes available in one or two trim levels.