The UK’s light commercial vehicle (LCV) market registered an 11.1% year-on-year (YoY) growth in March 2024, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reported. 

Last month, as many as 52,916 new LCVs, including vans, 4x4s, and pickups, have been registered. 

This marks the sector’s strongest March performance in three years.   

This surge is attributed to an increase in businesses renewing their fleets with the latest models, SMMT said.  

It also shows the UK’s growing reliance on these vehicles for a range of services from online shopping deliveries to local trades.  

March 2024 also marks the best first quarter for the van sector in the past three years, with volumes -7.7% below pre-pandemic levels of Q1 2019, which saw 102,743 units. 

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The SMMT’s findings highlight that the demand for larger models, those weighing between 2.5t to 3.5t, has risen by 16.1%, accounting for over two-thirds of the market.  

Conversely, the smallest vans saw the largest percentage increase in registrations, up 44.8% to 986 units, while medium-sized vans experienced a slight decline of 3.6% to 8,939 units. 

Pickup volumes have marginally increased by 0.1% to 5,767 units, and the demand for the latest 4x4s has jumped by 29.1% to 1,632 units.  

Notably, March also saw a record number of fleets adopting electric battery vans (BEVs), which grew by 14.7% to 2,906 units, representing 5.5% of the total LCV market. 

With the Zero Emission Vehicle Mandate requiring 10% of new LCV sales to be zero-emission by 2024, there is an urgent need for measures to boost operator confidence in BEVs.  

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “Industry is ready to deliver further, but with green uptake still below mandated levels, swift action is needed to give new van buyers the confidence to go electric. Rapid delivery of van-suitable public charging points and removing the hurdle of taxation on their use are key to greener fleets and a greener future.”