TNB News

Van industry begins to gain ground

04 May 2023 #TNB News

Despite a challenged economy, the commercial vehicle sector is continuing to show green shoots of growth and playing its part in driving forward business.

Last week, SMMT’s new manufacturing data showed that while March CV production volumes fell slightly, it was a strong overall first quarter – up by 1.1%, driven in part by a very strong January performance. Temporary supply shortages put the brakes on greater growth, but these continue to be worked through, and the trend is towards growth and rising output volumes. Long term success, however, will depend on taking steps to enhance UK competitiveness and attract greater investment.

Underlining the impact of easing supply shortages is the growth recorded in the LCV market in April. After a torrid 2022, the new van market has expanded every single month so far this year, with 109,937 new vans joining the road since January – growth of 14.6%. While we’re a way off a return to pre-pandemic levels, the gap is closing and confidence is increasing – so much so, that the outlook for the year has been revised upwards as the market becomes more bullish. Some 326,000 new LCVs are expected to be registered by the end of the year – that’s a 15.4% increase on 2022 and a real reason to be more cheerful.

However, it’s not entirely a clear sky. While attention is increasingly placed zero emission vehicles, ongoing concerns over energy prices, a paucity of dedicated infrastructure and delays to grid connections are combining to inhibit operators’ ability to make the switch. As a result, BEVs are now anticipated to take a smaller market share of 7.4% by the end of the year, and while 11.3% of new van registrations in 2024 are expected to be BEVs, it’s still a decline on our January outlook of 12.2%. Making sure our growth delivers on green goals will need every stakeholder to play their part during what is looking like an increasingly brighter year in general.

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