According to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the UK new light commercial vehicle (LCV) market grew by 17.3% to 47,634 units in March 2023, marking the third consecutive month of growth. The growth was boosted by a weak March last year due to chronic supply chain shortages that drove the market down by -27.6%.
Demand was up across all segments, except for vans weighing up to and including 2.0 tonnes, which were down -24.6%. Vans weighing greater than 2.0 to 2.5 tonnes rose by two thirds to 66.3%, while registrations of vans weighing greater than 2.5 to 3.5 tonnes increased marginally by 4.9%. Smaller volume pickup and 4x4 utility segments experienced double-digit growth, rising by 29.3% and 183.4% respectively.
In the first quarter of 2023, 87,272 light commercial vehicles have been registered, up 17.4% against Q1 last year, but still -15.1% off pre-pandemic 2019. Deliveries of battery electric vans grew by 32.7%, but infrastructure remains a barrier to uptake. The Zero Emission Vehicle Mandate, due to come into force in less than nine months, will compel a rapid increase in the sale of zero-emission vans and infrastructure providers must invest in infrastructure that gives more operators the confidence to transition.