April 28, 2017
The latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that 2017 has picked up where 2016 left off, as over 20,000 new vans were registered in January.
It’s a case of ‘as you were’ for the individual van segments as demand for small vans and 4x4s continues to drop while sales of medium/large vans and pickups continue to rise. A small sales increase of 261 units reflects growth of 1.2 percent for all vans under 3.5-tonnes GVW.
Over 2,000 brand new small vans were registered in January, some 400 units off the total from the previous year. This represents a dip of 16.2 percent in terms of demand for small vans, although this is nothing compared to the spectacular decline of the 4×4.
Just 54 new 4x4s were sold in January compared to 928 the previous year – a catastrophic drop of 94.2 percent. Where the 4×4 sector goes from here is anyone’s guess.
Onto the more positive news, demand for medium vans – buoyed by the likes of the new and improved Ford Transit Custom and excellent new Peugeot Expert – grew 3.1 percent, while the resurgence of large vans continues. Over 650 more large vans were registered last month compared to the corresponding period in 2016, representing growth of 5.6 percent.
The real winner is the pickup segment, with demand surging by a staggering 28.9 percent. The new pickup models due on the market this year clearly don’t seem to be affecting consumer appetite, as the sector is largely responsible for January’s positive result.
Mike Hawes, Chief Executive at the SMMT, said: “Vans are the backbone of British business so it is positive to see the strength of the market continue into 2017. With the success of the sector so closely linked to business confidence, Government must ensure the conditions that have delivered this growth are maintained.”
One manufacturer who will be hoping that the Government takes heed of the advice offered by Mr Hawes is Ford. Not content with sealing the top two spots in the van sales chart last year with their Transit Custom and Transit, a third Ford now locks out the top three – the Transit Connect. Sales of these three models (6,154) almost eclipse those of all the others (6,701) in the table – one of which is another Ford, the Ranger pickup!
Taking Ford vans out of the equation only leaves six spots in the top ten. Predictably these are mainly medium/large vans and pickups – the Vauxhall Vivaro and Volkswagen Transporter make up the top five after the Ford trio while the Nissan Navara (8th, 823 units registered) narrowly misses out to the Ranger (7th, 917 units). Despite the month’s results there is actually one other small van in amongst all this, with the ever-popular Citroen Berlingo shifting just over a thousand units to claim 6th in the sales chart.
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