Van registrations last year totalled 260,153 (2010: 222,915) and last month increased 7.8% year-on-year to 18,415 (December 2010: 17,086).
SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt said: ‘The van market has enjoyed a consistent trend of growth throughout 2011, albeit from a very low base. Renewed business confidence fuelled the month-on-month rises, while innovative developments in vehicle design and technologies provided solid business reasons for companies to upgrade their vehicles in 2011.’
Sales of sub 2.0 tonne vans increased 2.7% last year to 45,566 (2010: 44,359) although December volumes were down 4.3% at 2,936 (December 2010: 3,067).
Registrations of vans in the 2.0-2.5 tonne sector increased 23.2% last year to 33,900 (2010: 27,520) and 14.6% in December to 2,396 (December 2010: 2,091) and demand for vans in the 2.5-3.5 tonne segment accelerated 17.2% last year to 147,840 units (2010: 126,197) and 13.1% last month to 10,919 units (December 2010: 9,654).
Demand for pick-up vans increased 34.1% last year to 26,169 units (2010: 19,508) although December sales were down 2.5% year-on-year at 1,708 units (December 2010: 1,751).
Finally, sales of 4×4 vans increased 25.3% last year to 6,678 units (2010: 5,331) with volumes last month down 12.8% to 456 units (December 2010: 523).
Ford continues to dominate theUKvan market with a near 27% market share and sales last year of 70,226 – up more than 18% on 2010.
The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association predicts rising demand for contract hire and rental customers will continue to bolster light commercial vehicle registrations, which will be boosted by even more growth in the courier and home delivery sector.
Sue Robinson, director of theRMINational Franchised Dealers Association, added: ‘With more and more consumers’ choosing to buy goods over the internet, the need for small delivery vans has increased. Supermarkets have also doubled their fleet size to accommodate the growth in internet shopping.
‘The introduction of the London Low Emission Zone which enforces punitive fees on older vans operating inside the M25, has [also] led to many people up-grading their vans.’