The number of new registrations of light commercial vehicles (LCVs) in the UK rose by 10.6% last month, totalling 66,123 units, according to new figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
The demand for LCVs is said to have been fuelled by increasing demand for medium and large commercial vans, up 17.9% and 13% respectively.
In fact, registrations for LCVs accounted for almost two-thirds of the volumes in Q1 2019, with business owners seeking to acquire new fleet models and take advantage of attractive market incentives.
The Ford Transit Custom was March’s best-selling LCV, outselling its nearest challenger – the Ford Transit – almost three-fold. Ford’s LCVs performed well in the top ten most popular LCVs in March, with the Ranger and Transit Connect also listed.
Overall, demand for new LCVs was up 8.9% year-on-year in Q1 2019, with 102,743 registrations for the latest 19 plate models.
Mike Hawes, chief executive, SMMT, warns that the UK’s fragile business confidence amid the Brexit uncertainty could put the brakes on commercial fleet expansions for the next quarter.
“March is typically the busiest month of the year and it’s great to see large demand for the new 19 plate,” said Hawes.
“While the market does fluctuate with buying cycles, it appears buyers are making the most of the fantastic deals on offer.
“For such exceptional demand to continue long term, however, we need business confidence to improve and that means an end to the political and economic instability besetting the UK.”
London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone has also now been enforced, with businesses increasingly keen to explore new ways of newer, cleaner vehicle technologies and save money in the capital.
However, as electric vehicles and charging practicalities continue to evolve, today’s businesses continue to turn to Euro 6 diesel commercial vehicles as they remain exempt from the ULEZ fees.
Nevertheless, for fleets with comparatively small mileage needs and access to overnight vehicle charging, 2019 could be as good an opportunity as ever to adopt alternative fuels and trigger further cost savings on vehicle maintenance and road tax.