SMMT: New van registrations fall for fifth consecutive month as supply squeeze continues

UK light commercial vehicle (LCV) registrations fell for the fifth straight month in May, falling -25.1% to 22,000 units, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT)

According to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), light commercial vehicle (LCV) registrations in the UK fell -25.1% in May for the fifth straight month to 22,000 units.

Although the decline is stronger compared to last year, with the highest May registrations in history, the market was still some -21.5% below its pre-pandemic average as component shortages hampered manufacturing and so the supply is limited.1

All segments saw volumes decline during the month, although larger vans weighing more than 2.5 tonnes less were affected, with a decline of -19.4%. Medium-sized vans weighing more than 2.0 to 2.5 tons fell by -33.4%. The largest decline was recorded in the 4×4 sector (-80.7%), although this is a low volume segment subject to volatility.

Some 869 battery electric vans (BEV) were registered this month, 276 more than in May last year. BEV registrations for the year to date are 62.7% higher than last year, in part due to significant large fleet orders delivered earlier in the year. As a result, BEV’s overall market share has more than doubled over the year to 5.2% – a testament to the growing choice offered by manufacturers, with one in three models now available as a plug-in. .

However, the sector is lagging behind the new car market, with BEVs accounting for 14.0% of new registrations to date. With pure petrol and diesel cars and vans having the same sales end date in 2030, the need for a ‘van plan’ to encourage operators to make the switch through long-term incentives and dedicated van charging infrastructure is clear. Electric vans comprise only one in 20 new registrations and account for about one in 180 in use. This is confirmed by an SMMT survey released last month which found that 58% of existing van owners would be encouraged to switch to an electric car if there were more public charging stations, while 57% said government incentives such as reduced taxes or subsidies for purchase would help them switch to electric.2

Mike Hawes, Chief Executive of SMMT, said:

Global supply chain shortages continue to hold the market back after recovering from last May’s pandemic. However, manufacturers have worked hard to get the latest zero-emission vans to customers, more than doubling their market share. However, this is still an emerging market and every effort must be made to encourage drivers to switch to zero-emission commercial vehicles if we are to achieve our net-zero targets. The industry will address supply chain challenges that undermine delivery, but we urgently need a van plan to address the lack of dedicated infrastructure for commercial vehicles, as well as incentives to drive the industry’s electric transition.

1. May average 2015-2019 – 28,041
2. Industry calls for charging point ‘plan’ to switch owners to electric, May 24, 2022


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