The UK’s new light commercial vehicle (LCV) market grew by 11.0% in July, according to the latest figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
It has grown in every month of 2019, with 25,862 new models registered in July for use on UK roads.
Growth in July was driven by the demand for medium-size vans (weighing 2.0-2.5 tonnes) and large vans (weighing 2.5-3.5 tonnes), the segments growing by 17.2% and 16.9% respectively.
Meanwhile pick-ups, 4x4s and smaller vans (weighing less than 2.0 tonnes) all saw declines in the month. In the first seven months of 2019, the market was up 9.0%, and SMMT’s latest 2019 LCV forecast has been increased to 363,000 units.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive (www.smmt.co.uk
), said: “Another month of growth for the new-van market is welcome relief for the automotive sector, as it faces multiple challenges simultaneously.
"Buyers continue to be attracted to the latest and cleanest vans, which is good news for the manufacturers that have invested significant amounts to create them.
Buying cycles do fluctuate, however, and we need an end to Brexit uncertainty for this performance to continue.”
Meanwhile, the UK new-car market declined again in July (compared with July 2018), with 157,198 vehicles leaving showrooms.
Registrations fell by 4.1%, the fifth consecutive month of decline, with falls seen in all sectors; private demand fell by 2.0%, while deliveries for fleet and business customers were down 4.7% and 22.5% respectively.
That said, July saw a rise in registrations of luxury saloons and specialist sports cars, with volumes driven by increased demand for dual-purpose vehicles — up 12.8% to take nearly a quarter of the market.
Registrations of diesel vehicles fell for the 28th month (down 22.1%), while petrol vehicles remained stable, with 2,646 more registrations than in July 2018.
Registrations of hybrid electric cars increased by 34.2%, with 7,758 of these low-emission vehicles joining UK roads, although plug-in hybrid electric vehicles continued their recent decline (down 49.6%).
The demand for battery electric vehicles increased by 158.1%, resulting in a 1.4% market share — the highest on record.