TNB News

Growing LCV uptake is music to the industry’s ears

07 March 2024 #TNB News

Since 1999, when the ‘two numberplate’ system was introduced ahead of the new Millennium, February has always traditionally been a quiet month for LCV registrations, with many operators choosing to wait until March. While It’s Like That for February 2024, with 17,934 LCVs registered, that’s still a 2.2% increase on last year – and the highest volume since 1998, a time which may be popularly remembered as the Cool Britannia era, driven by Young British Artists.

While that growth, and that success, should be grounds for optimism, it’s not quite time to Dance the Night Away. Registrations of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) below 3.5 tonnes fell by 12.3% year on year, with market share recorded at 4.7%. The government mandated target for this year is 10% per manufacturer, No Matter What.

The bestselling single in 1998 was Cher’s Believe, and we need vehicle operators to believe in zero emission vehicles, believe in the range, believe in charging infrastructure, believe in payload. We also need to believe that the government will support operators in transitioning to zero emission vehicles by keeping the Plug-in Van Grant, supporting the rollout of van-specific charging infrastructure, and introducing the legislation for the driver license derogation for 4.25 tonne vehicles sooner rather than later.

While in 1998, the charts were well balanced between male and female artists, the automotive industry has still more road to travel, with women comprising just 19.8% of the British automotive workforce. With tomorrow being International Women’s Day, SMMT today hosted its third International Women’s Day Reception at our headquarters in London, giving the opportunity for members to network and share their experiences. This year’s theme was Inspire Inclusion, with speakers from inside and outside the automotive sector.

Attendees have heard from panellists about the challenges they have overcome, and how inclusive teams make for a better workplace. As an industry, we Don’t Want to Miss a Thing in growing business, and SMMT provides a series of resources, including Automotive Council’s best practice guide Shifting Gears: How to better recruit and retain women in the UK automotive sector, that can help boost balance and development.

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