New light commercial vehicle (LCV) registrations in the UK bounced back from the pandemic-hit 2020, growing by more than a fifth (21.4%) in 2021, according to the latest figures released last week by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
In all, 355,380 new light commercial vehicles were registered in the year, ending with the best December for the sector since 2015 with a 7.8% increase.
The robustness of the LCV market was due in part to strong underlying demand from key sectors – notably construction and home deliveries – with significant fleet investments resulting in 62,723 more units being registered in the last year than in 2020. This performance is only marginally weaker than the strong 2019 market (-2.8%)1 and the five-year pre-Covid average (-3.0%).2
There was more good news for the sector as BEV uptake soared by 142.3%, although this equates to a relatively modest 12,759 zero emission vans and a total market share of 3.6%. With petrol and diesel vans facing the same end of sale date as passenger cars, this shows just how far the LCV BEV market needs to grow even to replicate the shift taking place in the passenger car market, where BEVs account for one in nine registrations as opposed to one in 28 in the van market.
In terms of market segmentation, there were significant increases for both 4x4s and the heaviest vans weighing greater than 2.5-3.5 tonnes of 183% and 27.8% respectively, while vans weighing greater than 2-2.5 tonnes were the only segment to decrease, albeit by a marginal -0.8%.
Looking forward to 2022, the LCV market is predicted to grow further to 363,700 units, bringing registrations in line with 2019’s 365,778 units.
“After a difficult 2020, the commercial vehicle sector has bounced back, with registrations recovering to just shy of pre-Covid levels,” said Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive. “Although demand has remained robust, there is still the potential for market volatility with the omicron variant and component shortages threatening supply chains. Manufacturers are working hard to ensure deliveries, and, with a record number of battery electric vans registered this past year, customers can be assured that more of these new technology vehicles will be available to keep society and businesses moving in an increasingly zero-emission manner.”