February 18, 2020

‘Solid’ van sales despite year of uncertainty

December rounded off a “solid annual performance” for van sales – with full year registrations up 2.4%. A total of 365,778 new models hit UK roads, with Ford taking first and second slots with Transit Custom and Transit, respectively.

It is the third highest total on record, with growth coming despite political and economic uncertainty for much of the year, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), who compile the figures.

SMMT also say that buyers have been keen to switch to the latest low emission models to comply with clean air zone requirements – and to meet demand brought about by the rise of online shopping and corresponding deliveries.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, “A healthy van market is good news for the industry, environment and exchequer and so the rise in 2019 registrations is very welcome. As we enter a new decade, however, we need this upward trend to continue if we are to address environmental concerns. The quicker these new vehicles become commonplace, the quicker their positive impact on air quality and climate change will be felt.

“Manufacturers will continue to invest in new, cleaner technologies but, ultimately, it is businesses that will determine the pace of change. Business positivity is essential to give companies the confidence to invest in their fleets.”

All van segments saw growth during 2019, with small vans weighing less than 2.0-tonnes up 4.4%, medium vans weighing 2.0-2.5-tonnes up 10.5% and larger vans weighing 2.5-3.5-tonnes up 1.2%. Demand for new pick-ups and 4x4s, however, fell, down 1% and 9.7% respectively – but the combined loss represented just 733 units.

Registrations returned to growth in December, following three months of decline. SMMT reported that the market grew 7.8% in the month as “the impact of regulatory changes eased and attractive offers on new models helped stimulate orders with only pick-ups experiencing a fall in demand”.

2019’s best sellers

(all LCVs <3.5-tonnes)

1 Ford Transit Custom 52,512

2 Ford Transit 26,237

3 Mercedes Sprinter 25,862

4 Volkswagen Transporter 19,608

5 Vauxhall Vivaro 18,029

6 Ford Ranger 16,459

7 Ford Transit Connect 15,477

8 Peugeot Partner 14,605

9 Citroen Berlingo 13,492

10 Vauxhall Combo 12,944