Firstly, a quick hello from me – with Nigel heading off into a well-earned retirement, I’ll be one of several SMMT experts sharing views and insight into the commercial vehicle world.
On the one hand this shouldn’t be too hard. I was, after all, a journalist before I joined SMMT nine years ago and was even a (much younger) CV journalist for two years before we saw the new millennium in. Remember the Millennium Bug? That’s the sort of problem I miss now – considering the scale, sweep and number of challenges the automotive sector is facing these days.
Ongoing semiconductor and supply chain shortages have combined with a low tide in fleet operator investment to see March light van registrations tumble -27.6% compared with the relatively positive 2021, and -38.6% on the last normal pre-pandemic year of 2019.
March is usually a bumper month thanks to one of the bi-annual new registration plate introductions, but just 40,613 units were registered.
Battery electric vans are up 17.7% year-on-year, taking 5.8% of market share, but we need more suitable charging infrastructure. And fast.
The only ways is up, to coin a cliché, but with challenge must come opportunity for those who can find it. We’re looking hard…
Lastly a fond farewell from me to Nigel. We shared stories over lunch and then a drink or three with colleagues at the end of the day. He will be sorely missed.