The latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show a reduction of 23,606 vans on UK roads, indicating the first major drop since December 2020. The light commercial vehicle (LCV) sector however is forecast to increase by 24.3% in 2021 to be just shy of pre-pandemic units on the road.
Figures Drop for First Time Since December 2020, Although Swift Recovery Expected by End of 2021
The SMMT has indicated that the supply issues, most noticeably for semiconductors have resulted in the drop of 23,606 vans between December 2020 – July 2021, with an overall drop of 14.8% from last year and a moderate 4% drop compared to the pre-pandemic five-year average. The only rise in registrations came from 4X4s with a healthy 145.3% increase, while pickups, all types of vans and rigid trucks all registered falls.
Demand for larger vans between 2.5-3.5 tonnes, which is the biggest sector of the market (70%) saw a 5.2% drop, while vans weighing more than 2.0-2.5 tonnes saw a fairly drastic reduction of 41.4%.
In more positive news, year-to-date registrations remain up 57.5% on last year, equalling 78,542 more units. This makes for a 1.1% on the pre-pandemic 2015-2019. Overall, 215,119 vans have exchanged hands so far in 2021. This is due to a growth in demand from operators who continue to renew and expand their fleets, as online delivery businesses continue to grow, as well as a boom in the construction sector.
Forecasting a healthy quarterly forecast, the SMMT anticipates the light commercial vehicle market to increase by 24.3%, which equals 363,880 more vehicles in 2021. This is a modest 1.5% reduction from April’s forecast of 369,000 and means 2021’s total numbers will just fall shy of 2019’s total of 365,778.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive said of the figures: “While July’s decline in the new van market is disappointing, it must be viewed in context against the semi-conductor shortages currently challenging the global industry. Given the shift to home deliveries, the strength of the construction sector and the further opening up of the economy, we expect the market to end the year almost back to 2019 levels. Fleet renewal is critical, not only to ensure the newest, cleanest and greenest vans enter UK roads but to enable the UK to meet its ambitious green targets.