THE May 2018 new van market sales edged up 2.4% to 27,639 units reports the SMMT.
But actual market demand was something of a mixed bag.
While demand for mid-size trade vans and larger heavier vans grew by 21.5% and 2.0% respectively, there was a -21.0% decline in vans under 2.0-tonnes.
Pick-ups also declined, with 3,826 registered in the month, down -2.6%.
However, SMMT reports that with 145,514 vans and pick-ups registered so far in the year, demand remains a third (34.8%) higher than five years ago.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said:
“It’s reassuring to see a bit of stability in the van market. Variations in buying cycles are a natural feature and, despite the year-to-date decline, it’s important to remember that demand remains at an historically high level.
“Barring any unforeseen shocks, we expect the rest of the year to follow a similar pattern, in line with forecasts. To drive long-term growth, however, we need the right economic conditions to give businesses the confidence to invest in their fleets.”
Commercial Vehicle Manager at Lex Autolease, Russell Adams, said:
“Another month where van registrations have gone up is a testament to the overall stability that continues in the LCV market. Admittedly we’re not, and realistically don’t expect to hit the peaks of 2016, but May’s registrations are another good indicator of a mostly healthy van market.
“Businesses have many decisions to make at the moment. We’re seeing a lot of new technology come into play, particularly the availability of a greater range of electric vans – something that the LCV market has lagged behind cars on traditionally. With this in mind, fleet managers have many more options open to them, but also more complex and time-consuming decisions to make when it comes to updating their van fleets.
“What we’re seeing, both from current and potential customers, is an incredibly inquisitive market with genuine interest in how battery power is set to play a role for them.
“However, it’s telling that the majority of our own electric van customers are still using these vehicles for low-range operations, such as campus-based roles at universities or the fleet we manage at Portsmouth Naval Base for BAE. It proves that electric vans are fitting the bill for low-mileage jobs, but new diesel is still the right option where it’s necessary to cover longer distances – logistics or construction fleets, for example.”
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