Light commercial vehicle registrations rose by 1.2% during the first quarter of 2016, compared to the same period last year. In March, registrations rose by 3.3% to a total of 63,913 units, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.
March’s growth was restricted to the the 2.5-3.5t segments, where registrations rose by 14.2% to 38,847. This growth offset a 9% decline in the 2.0-2.5t segment, and a 15.9% decline in vans under two tonnes. There was also a sharp 43.1% fall in pickup registrations, which fell to 1,336 units versus 2,349 units in March 2015.
It seems fair to say that the CV market is now levelling off after several years of strong growth, although as yet there’s no obvious sign of weakness:
Commenting on the figures, Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said:
“Traditionally one of the busiest months of the year for the new British van market, March’s new 16 plate gave a welcome boost, closing the first quarter on a positive note after a more subdued start to the year. Following the sector’s record performance set in 2015, we expect to see steadier growth over the coming months.”
Who’s winning the race?
Among the big winners in March was Ford. The firm’s van range is gaining market share steadily and the Transit Custom and Transit are first and second respectively in the UK commercial vehicle sales league.
This helped Ford’s van sales hit a new record of 20,877 units in March. This means that the blue oval sold almost one in every three vans registered in the UK last month!
Renault is also performing well. The firm’s UK van sales rose by 20.8% to 6,618 vehicles during the first quarter, giving Renault a 6.6% share of the UK van market.
Overall, a strong performance which suggests the market is mostly holding onto last year’s gains and could continue to perform well.