Market decline

No respite from decline in UK light commercial vehicle market

September 14, 2022


Despite strong order books for the year, an eighth consecutive month of decline in new light commercial vehicle (LCV) registrations in the UK has left the industry without growth for the whole of 2022.

There were just 15,520 new LCV registrations in August, down 24.6% from 20,582 units 12 months ago, according to the UK. Society of Automobile Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Of these, 6.1% or 944 were battery electric vehicles (BEVs), up 14.7% from 2021. Year-to-date (YTD) registrations of 178,626 units were down 24.2% from the same point in 2021. YTD BEV registrations stand at 9,809 units, capturing 5.5% of the overall LCV market. This figure is up 50.6% compared to 2021. The Vauxhall Vivaro-e remains the best-selling electric van, with 2,473 units registered since the start of the year.

For the sixth consecutive month, all LCV sectors recorded declines in registrations. Vans under 2.0 tonnes fell 44.1%, while those between 2.0 and 2.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight (GVW) fell 45.3%. The 2.5-3.5 tonne sector – which accounted for 78.5% of all van registrations during the month – was down 14.0%. The pickup truck sector recorded a decline of 52.2%.

Ford retained the top spot, with the Transit Custom registering 1,903 units in August. The 28,781 registrations also make the Custom the best-selling vehicle in the UK so far this year. The Ford Transit finished second with 1,742 units, while the Ford Transit Connect and Ford Ranger finished sixth and seventh respectively.

Stellantis’ Vauxhall Vivaro, Peugeot Expert and Citroën Dispatch occupied third (1,102 units), eighth (709 units) and 10th (510 units), with the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter coming fourth, the Volkswagen Transporter fifth and the Renault Trafic ninth .

Year-to-date 2022 August 2022 August 2021
Custom Ford Transit 28 781 Custom Ford Transit 1903 Custom Ford Transit 3,592
Ford Transit 21548 Ford Transit 1742 Ford Transit 2 161
Vauxhall Vivaro 10 950 Vauxhall Vivaro 1 102 Ford Ranger 1776
Mercedes Sprinter 10 122 Mercedes Sprinter 981 Mercedes Sprinter 1654
Ford Ranger 9351 Volkswagen Transporter 739 Volkswagen Transporter 1,488

The shortage of components continues to hamper production, as evidenced by registrations in August. In what was the lowest volume of listings recorded for the month of August since 2017, increasingly strong economic headwinds and lingering supply chain challenges continue to test the market. Although manufacturers are accelerating the transition to electric, infrastructure improvements are urgently needed to give businesses the confidence to make the transition.

Auction sales up but erratic demand

Sales of used inventory at auction rose 1.9% in August, mainly due to improving demand. Although average selling prices rose for the second month in a row, overall demand is erratic, with buyers targeting vehicles that can be sold quickly for maximum return.

Data from Glass shows the total number of vehicles sold at auction was up 1.9% from July and was just 0.7% lower than the same point 12 months ago. The average sale price for the month increased by 2.25% and was 0.83% higher than in August 2021.

The average age of vehicles sold in August fell 1.8 months to 72.4 months, while average mileage fell for the third consecutive month to 78,844 from 80,106 miles in July. The last average mileage is nearly 1,600 miles higher than twelve months ago. First conversion rates for the month of August remained overall at 74.8%, down 1.2% from the same period last year. The van sector posted the best conversion rate at 80.7% (down 0.5% from July), while the lowest was the 4×4 sector at 64.6%, or a 5% month-on-month improvement.

Used vehicles seen for sale in the wholesale market over the past month fell 1.5% to less than 41,400 units. Almost 46% of these vehicles were on sale for £20,000 (€23,000) or more, while 38.3% were on sale between £20,000 and £10,000. In the lower end of the market, volumes remained relatively stable with 12.2% of vehicles selling between £10,000 and £5,000, and 4.2% selling for £5,000 or less.