40,613 light commercial vehicles were registered in March, which amounted to a 27.6% drop on the previous March. Large vans fell by 18.9%, while medium-sized vans fell by 27.6%. The Society of Motor Manufacturer and Traders (SMMT), who released the figures attribute the drop to a particularly strong March the year before and the sustained global shortage of semiconductors continuing to hurt the market.
LCV Sales Stronger in March Than January and February Combined
March is conventionally a bumper period due to the introduction of the new bi-annual number plate, with more LCVs registered last month than January and February combined. However, with supply and delivery issues are continuing to hurt the market. Compared to the pre-pandemic 2019, the market for March is down 38.6%
Newly registered large vans, which represent more than two-thirds of the LCV market, totalled 29,230 units, -18.9% on March last year, while medium-sized vehicles weighing greater than 2.0 tonnes to 2.5 tonnes declined by -27.6%. Small vans, meanwhile, decreased by -70.8% and pickups by -48.4%. Recent high year-on-year demand for 4x4s also slowed, decreasing by -33.3%.
For LCV registrations over the first quarter, the segment is down 23.6%, compared to a rejuvenated market over the first months of 2021, where demand was strong and there were no shortages of components.
Commenting on the news, Mikes Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive said, “The light commercial vehicle market has made a slower start to 2022 compared with the first quarter of last year, reflecting the cyclical nature of fleet operator investment, amid global supply shortages and increasing economic pressures. Targeted support from government is needed to encourage fleet renewal and a full zero emission van market.”