Van registrations fell by 7.9% in 2012, according to the latest statistics from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
The latest SMMT figures reveal that the biggest falls were in registrations of vans with a maximum permitted weight of under 2.0t, which fell by 11.4% in 2012. Registrations of larger vans with a maximum permitted weight of between 2.0t and 2.5t fell by 8.5%, while those between 2.5t and 3.5t fell by 7.0%.
4x4s fared best, with new 4×4 registrations dropping by just 6.0% from 2011 levels, albeit on low volumes — just 6,279 4x4s registered as light commercial vehicles (i.e. van models) were sold in 2012.
UK van and truck registrations: 2012 and % change on 2011
This graph shows how the type mix and total volume of light commercial vehicles has changed over the last three years, falling strongly in 2012 after the start of an apparent recovery in 2011:
A gloomy picture
The big fall in vans over 2.0t is clearly shown, disappointing those who thought that 2011 marked the start of a recovery in the UK’s light commercial vehicle market. December’s year-end figures didn’t provide any indicator of a recovery this year, either, with overall van registrations falling by 14.2% in the final month of the year.
Indeed, new registrations in every single class of commercial vehicle — from light vans to heavy rigid trucks and 3-axle artices — all fell in December, dropping by an aggregate of 15.8%, to round off a year in which total commercial vehicle registrations fell by 5.9%.
Looking at the year as a whole, sales of artics fell by 7.2% last year, but the only CV category to end the year with an overall gain was rigid trucks, sales of which rose by 16.6% overall in 2012.
The biggest gains came in the 3.5t – 6.0t weight category, where new registrations rose by 28.8%. These models are often large vans, and this gain is perhaps a sign that van operators are getting serious about compliance with weight regulations.
The graph below shows how registrations of all types of CV tailed off towards the end of the year:
I’ll leave the final word to SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt, who is a more optimistic man than I:
“The commercial vehicle market ended 5.9% down on 2011 as business confidence wavered. Vans have struggled all year with just under 240,000 registered while truck volumes tailed-off towards the end of the year. We look forward to 2013 being a better year for the commercial vehicle market with a host of new products and innovative technologies boosting registrations.”