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Van Sales Market Shows Highest Ever April Numbers

Van Sales April 2021 by Size

The figures are in from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), and they are very promising for van manufacturers, sales and leasing companies.

April 2021 was a record-breaking month for new van registrations, with 30,440 vans registered. This is the highest ever total for the month since records began. Looking at the 5-year average, registrations are up 23.2%.

While these numbers are very encouraging, they come off the back of a significant slump in the market due to Covid. The upturn has coincided with restrictions being lifted across the UK, and is likely related to businesses returning to work after being limited by lockdown.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “Businesses are investing in new vehicles as they grow in confidence, driven by a more positive economic outlook stimulated by the vaccine rollout. There has been particular uplift in larger van uptake, both from established demand in home delivery, but also more broadly as other sectors emerge from lockdown looking to maximise their payload efficiency. With a fragile supply chain still subject to risk of disruption and ongoing Covid restrictions, there is some way to go before we can say business is back to normal, but after a very difficult year, the outlook is much brighter.”

Looking at the sales breakdown by van model, we can see the usual split. Ford Transit Custom leads the charts, followed by the 3.5t version, the Ford Transit 350. Ford remain the most popular choice for UK companies by a comfortable margin, though the Ford Transit Connect is further down the list.

Mercedes Sprinter and VW Transport are the next in line, and still showing strongly in both the monthly and year-to-date figures.

The Vauxhall Combo is the best-selling small van, when looking at the year-to-date numbers, with the medium Vauxhall Vivaro performing well.

Van Sales by Model

Overall, out of the 30,440 van registrations, 20,037 were vans weighing 2.5 to 3.5t, showing market demand for larger vans.

Unfortunately, this increased demand has coincided with a worldwide parts shortage. Issues with semiconductors have meant the van industry, along with most other sectors that use electronics, have either reduced or fully halted production.

Coming at a time when van registrations are on the increase, this shortage in stock may cause greater disruption than expected. Although new lease vans are still available, they are low in number. Expect to see a continued increase in the sale price of used vans as businesses turn to the used sector to replace their vehicles. New startup companies will especially be looking to used vans as a faster option than the projected 10 month lead time of a new factory order.

For customers looking at acquiring a new van, there are few options currently. Leasing companies such as Van Ninja continue to hold some stock of new vehicles, though it is disappearing quickly. Our simple advice is to act immediately. Increased demand and reduced availability could drive price increases later in the year as stock runs out and, even if the prices don’t change, sourcing a new van could become very difficult.