SMMT reports best May on record for LCVs

According to the latest figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, the light commercial vehicle market had another record-setting month, with 29,354 vans registered in May.

May new registrations for LCVs were up 4.7% up on pre-pandemic levels, with grown being seen across all vehicle segments. Demand for larger 2.5-3.5 tonne vans drove the increase, comprising two thirds of all registrations, some 19,687 vans. 

With 157,150 vans registered so far during 2021, performance year-to-date is the highest on record, almost double what it was in 2020 (up 99.3%), and up 4.0% on a pre-pandemic five-year average. 

Total registrations for 2021 sit at 296,448 fewer units, or -29.1% less, than the average recorded across January to May during the last decade and new car registrations in May totalled 156,737 units, down -14.7% compared to May 2019, and down -13.2% on the 10-year May average. 

In terms of segments, dual purpose vehicles saw a small decline in market share in the month, down to 26.7% and lower medium cars rose to 27.8%. Superminis remained Britain’s most popular car choice, with a 31.1% share. 

Battery electric vehicle (BEV) market share declined from 12.0% a year ago to 8.4% in the past month, although the May 2020 performance was distorted by variable lockdown purchasing patterns. 

Looking more broadly across 2021, plug-in vehicles now comprise 13.8% of new car registrations, up from 7.2% a year earlier, with the most rapid growth seen in plug-in hybrid (PHEV) derivatives. Pure petrol and mild hybrid petrol cars so far account for 60.4% of registrations, while pure diesel and mild hybrid diesels took a 18.0% share year to date, compared to 64.6% and 22.4% last year.