Expert Blog

Van drivers are upsizing

We recently looked at the number of car registrations in 2016. But what about the car’s industrious cousin, the van?

The graph below uses the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers to show how many light commercial vehicles have been registered in recent months and years. These LCVs include pickups and 4x4s, but they’re mostly vans. And they’re mostly on the way up.

In the year to this April, there were 375,914 registrations of new LCVs, which is the highest figure on record – and 54.6 per cent higher than the equivalent figure from four years ago. Britain’s economic growth really is being driven by white van men and women.

But there are some eye-catching discrepancies when you look at the different types of LCV in isolation. In April, the heaviest class of van (weighing between 2.5 and 3.5 tonnes) saw its registrations grow by 22.8 per cent from a year earlier. Meanwhile, those weighing between 2.0 and 2.5 tonnes declined by almost exactly the same proportion, 22.7 per cent. 

In fact, the country’s van drivers are generally upsizing. That biggest class of vans now has a market share of 63.3 per cent, up from 57.7 per cent a year ago. As the SMMT puts it, ‘heavier vans continue to rise in popularity’.

Anyway, we don’t want to bombard you with too many graphs and percentages, so we’ll stop there for now. Suffice to say, it will be worth seeing how the van market progresses in 2016, and particularly whether it simmers down after a record 2015. We’ll report back in a couple of months’ time.

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