The UK’s light commercial vehicle (LCV) market has ended the year on a high, improving on 2020 levels and coming within 3% of 2019 levels, after this December’s impressive showing. With the sector growing by 7.8% in the best December since 2015, the latest figures by SMMT show a market hitting its stride.
Excellent December Caps off a Strong Year of Recovery for UK Van Market
UK LCV registrations in 2021 were 21.4% above 2020, which amounted to 62,723 units more than last year, in figures just -2.8% down on 2019. There was also a stronger showing of battery electric vans, which made up 12,759, of the 335,380 vehicles to hit the UK roads in 2021.
By growing by more than a fifth, the robustness of the LCV market was due in part to strong underlying demand from key sectors – notably construction and home deliveries – with significant fleet investments adding 62,723 more units in 2021 than in 2020. In December alone, the market saw 29,404 registrations, against a strong 27,283 for the year before. This included a very healthy 261% increase for BEVs, which in part helped the sector increase 142% on the year before, with 12,759 sales versus 5,266 in 2020.
With petrol and diesel vans facing the same end of sale date as passenger cars, this shows just how far the LCV BEV market needs to grow to replicate the shift taking place in the passenger car market. To put in context, BEVs account for one in nine registrations in the car market against one in 28 in the van market.
Looking forward to 2022, the SMMT predicts that the LCV market will hit 363,700 units, bringing registrations in line with 2019’s 365,778 units.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, commented on the previous month and the year in general: After a difficult 2020, the commercial vehicle sector has bounced back, with registrations recovering to just shy of pre-COVID levels. While demand has remained robust, there is still potential for market volatility with the Omicron variant and component shortages threatening supply chains. Manufacturers are working hard to ensure deliveries, while with the record number of battery electric vans registered this past year, customers can rest assured that more of these new technology vehicles will be available to keep society and businesses moving in an increasingly zero-emission manner.