Expert Blog

The resilience of the van market in 2017

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We recently blogged about the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ car registration figures for the first three months of this year. In that post, we noted the terrific resilience of the car market at what, on the face of it, is a challenging time for the economy.

The market for light commercial vehicles (LCVs) is proving resilient too. According to the SMMT’s latest figures, 97,970 new vans were registered in the first three months of 2017, which is 0.9% fewer than the 98,906 that were registered during the same period last year. This may be a decline, but it’s a negligible one – and needs to be considered within a wider context.

What is this wider context? Our graph, below, shows it.

374,751 vans were registered in the year to this March. That might be slightly lower than the record high of 379,383 from last September, but it’s still significantly more than were registered four years ago. Only 246,835 vans were registered in the year to March 2013. The van market has grown by an astonishing 51.8% since then – and that sort of growth doesn’t continue indefinitely.

Besides, the SMMT’s data contains some particularly heartening figures. Registrations of larger vans (i.e. those weighing between 2.5 and 3.5 tonnes) numbered 61,607 in the first quarter of the year, which is 3.3% higher than in first three months of 2016. Similarly, but even more impressively, registrations of pickups have increased by 21.7%.

These numbers demonstrate that commercial vehicles are still in high demand. That’s something we should all welcome – particularly as it’s vans and their drivers that are so crucial to the country’s economic success.

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