The latest figures released last week by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that whilst the 2020 UK new light commercial vehicle was contracting by almost 20% compared to the previous year. There’s strong growth for electric van sales as they up by 64.4% in the same time period. The BEV figures may make the headline news, but of course like any other set of statistics the devil is in the detail.
Total UK Van market
UK new light commercial vehicle (LCV) registrations ended 2020 down -20.0%, with the van market rounding off the year in decline following three months of growth. 292,657 vehicles were registered in 2020, as the impact of Covid and uncertainty over the future relationship with the EU brought down demand toward the end of the year, with registrations in the final month of the year dropping -1.0%.
Supermarkets and parcels don’t save the day
During 2020 the LCV market understandably responded to the fluctuating demand as the lockdown measures affected consumer behaviour and business operations. Interestingly, despite the various headline grabbing super-sized van orders from the numerous supermarkets and parcel delivery sectors often quoted by many observers the market still declined heavily.
Small vans and pickups take the hit
All van segments saw a decrease in the year, with small vans weighing less than or equal to 2.0 tonnes down -34.4%, medium vans weighing more than 2.0-2.5 tonnes down -15.6% and larger vans weighing more than 2.5-3.5 tonnes down -16.5%. Demand for new pickups and 4x4s fell by -32.7% and -10.6% respectively.
2020 Electric and plug-in sales
There were 5,266 battery electric registered during 2020 resulting in 64.4% increase on 2019 numbers, and 578 alternatively fuelled vans (AFV), which are basically plug-ins registered in an increase of 182% on 2019.
Of course, these percentage increases sound impressive its only when you realise they equate to a combined total of just 2% or 5,844 units of all vans sales during 2020.
But this is just the beginning as we know within nine years that figure will be 100% !!