Annual Fall in Van Registrations

Annual Fall in Van Registrations. Shown: Ford Transit Custom

Annual Fall in Van Registrations. Shown: Ford Transit Custom

2016 looks to have been a high watermark for the LCV market in the UK, as last year sales dropped by 3.6 per cent, according to statistics published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

That although growth had been experienced for almost half a decade, with demand still higher in 2017 than at almost any other time in history, predictions that expansion could not be sustained indefinitely were proven correct in the final six months of the year.

In December alone a total of 28,000 new vans and pickups were sold to business users nationally, bringing the annual total to a little over 362,000 units registered. This actually represents a slight improvement compared with the same month last year, highlighting the idea that fluctuations can occur unexpectedly.

Report spokesperson Mike Hawes said that there was still strong demand for new vans throughout Britain and the sales performance posted in the past year correlated with analysts’ estimates.

He also explained that 2018 might present businesses with tougher conditions to overcome, with Brexit still looming large and lots of questions still to be answered about the nation’s stability going forwards.

The Ford Transit Custom took home the title of the biggest-selling van of the year, as just under 52,000 units were sold, and it seems to be unshakable at the top of the market. In second place the full-sized Ford Transit’s sales figures of over 27,000 vehicles makes an equally impressive impact.

After tussling with the VW Transporter for a long time, the battle for third place was eventually won by the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, which sold more than 23,500 units. The top five is completed by the compact Ford Transit Connect.

Ford’s stellar performance is cemented by the appearance of the Ranger pickup in tenth place overall. It not only outsold all of its rivals in this ever-growing segment but also outdid a number of traditional vans from rival manufacturers, including the Renault Traffic.

A lot of the gains made by pickups in the past couple of years have come at the expense of flagging sales of standard 4x4 SUVs. Just 443 of the latter were registered in the entirety of 2017, compared with more than 51,000 pickup trucks.

While some segments made major gains, others saw waning interest and changing buying habits take their toll. There was a 20 per cent reduction in the sale of small vans weighing under two tonnes last year, while large vans of 2.5 to 3.5 tonnes also dipped by a less severe 3.1 per cent.

Vans in the 2.0 to 2.5 tonne range made a small 2.3 per cent gain on 2016’s performance, but pickups ruled the roost with a 7.8 per cent sales boost. Whether businesses will continue to shift their focus away from small vans and 4x4s to pickups in 2018 remains to be seen, but the multipurpose nature of these LCVs is certainly setting them up to create further shifts this year.

Categories: Ford /

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