According to the latest figures from the Society of Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT) November 2016 saw sales of new light commercial vehicles (up to 3.5 tonne) reach the highest number since records began 20 years ago. The grand total of 29,784 represents a year-on-year increase of 2.5 per cent compared to the same month in 2015.
This brings the 2016 year-to-date tally to 348,448, an increase of 2.1 per cent over the same period last year; and that was itself a record-breaking year.
A 43.1 per cent rise in sales of smaller vans weighing 2.0t – 2.5t drove growth in November, while demand for the versatile pick-up also continued to rise; by a not insignificant 36.7 per cent. Demand for heavier vans, meanwhile, fell for the second consecutive month, with registrations for vehicles weighing 2.5t – 3.5t down 4.4 per cent. Year-to-date, however, this segment remains strong — up 7.0 per cent in the first 11 months of 2016 — and accounting for 62 per cent of the market.
“The new van market’s growth in November is welcome news and an encouraging sign of ongoing business confidence,” said SMMT chief executive, Mike Hawes. “With almost 350,000 light commercials registered so far this year, the sector remains on track to beat 2015’s record-breaking performance. For this success to continue in 2017 and beyond, however, it is essential that the economic conditions that have kept this sector so buoyant in recent years are maintained.”