According to the latest figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the UK light commercial vehicle (LCV) market declined in March by 27.6 percent to 40,613 units. Despite this overall fall, battery electric vans bucked the trend with increasing sales.
The overall scale of the fall is amplified by comparison with March last year, when pent-up demand contributed to the largest increase in LCV registrations since 1999.
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, supply and delivery issues continue to hamper the sector, including the global shortage of semiconductors and those affecting construction, logistics and shipping, with the March market 38.6 percent down on pre-pandemic 2019.
Battery electric vans continued to sell well and attract interest as businesses renewing their fleets look to meet tighter air quality regulations in urban areas, with registrations rising from 1,622 units in March 2021 to 1,909 units in March 2022. This represents an increase of 17.7 percent.
Compared with the first quarter last year, electric van uptake increased from 2,544 to 4,297 units. This is up an impressive 68.9 percent increase year on year to take a market share of 5.8 percent.
Meanwhile, diesel vans sales for the first quarter of the year in the UK fell from 93,533 to 68,737 units. This represents a fall of 26.5 percent. Hopefully, this trend will continue as more drivers and companies switch to electric vans, especially those that work in inner cities.
Mike 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.”