Expert Blog

The numbers behind last year's van registrations

20180108_The numbers behind last year's van registrations [1]

The story for van registrations in 2017 is similar, in many respects, to the story for car registrations. First there is the headline finding: registrations of new light commercial vehicles (LCVs) fell by 3.6% last year, the first decline since 2012. Then there is the necessary context: despite this decline, the total number of LCV registrations in 2017 (362,149) was still historically high, as our graph suggests:

Whilst some sizes of van conformed to the overall, downwards trend – for example, registrations of vans weighing under 2 tonnes declined by 20.3% last year – it’s worth noting that others did not. Registrations of pick-ups actually increased by 7.8%, whilst those for vans weighing between 2 and 2.5 tonnes increased by 2.3%.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has also started breaking down van registrations according to their fuel-type, which means that, for the first time on this blog, we can produce the following graph:

The numbers currently only go up to the end of November, rather than to the year’s end, but they are enough to reach certain conclusions. The clearest is that diesel still dominates the van market – 99.1% of the market is accounted for by diesel sales. However, this share is slowly declining, and other fuels are on the rise. Registrations of petrol LCVs increased by a massive 438.5% last year. Registrations of alternatively-fuelled LCVs increased by 17.5%.

Of course, there’s still a long way to go before we can talk about any fundamental shifts in the van market. The market shares for petrol vans and alternatively-fuelled vans are still only 0.6% and 0.3%, respectively. But, as our Future of Fuel report explained, van fleets certainly have more options in 2018 – and beyond – than they did in the past.

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