Record Number of Cars but Rate of Growth Beaten by Vans

Number of Cars

Following recent news that car registrations recorded the 21st month of continuous growth, new data has revealed the impressive rise in the number of LGVs and vans in the UK.

Reports from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) have shown that despite the new car market reaching record heights, the rate of growth is far from the success seen with the new light goods vehicles (LGVs) and vans.

In fact, the UK’s demand for these commercial vehicles rose by 5.4% in April as more businesses invested in the latest models. This means that 23,889 new vans, 4x4s and pickups were registered – the highest total for the month since 2021.

SMMT data stated that this was due to fleets, who invested in vehicles to support local trades, doorstep services and other sections of the logistics sector.

Deliveries of medium-sized vans grew by 6.8% to 4,611 units, while the biggest percentage increase was for the smallest vans, up 41.1%.

The latest market outlook from SMMT expects the UK’s new van market to grow by 3.3% to 353,000 units this year.

RAC spokesperson Rod Dennis said: “While the number of cars on the road reached a record high last year of nearly 33.6m, the rate of growth over recent years hasn’t nearly matched that of new light goods vehicles (LGVs), including vans, that have fuelled the boom in home deliveries.”

“Since the end of 2014, the number of LGVs rose by a third (32%) from 3.6m to 4.7m, yet cars rose by just 10% over the same period. And in the last five years, the number of LGVs has shot up by 14%, compared to cars going up by 3%.”

“Conversely, the number of buses and coaches on the UK’s roads tumbled 16% from nearly 169,000 at the end of 2014 to just 141,300 at the end of last year, which is disappointing at a time when so much public money is being spent on trying to make bus travel more attractive – for instance, by building more bus lanes. It’s little wonder then that so many people are as dependent on their cars as they are.”

“It’s good news from an air quality perspective that the number of diesel vehicles is at the lowest level since 2015.”

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