September’s decline in light van registrations in the UK is the result of “the global shortage of semiconductors eventually hitting the market”, according to Sue Robinson, chief executive of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), commenting on the latest SMMT’s light commercial vehicle registration figures.
Registrations of new commercial vehicles up to 3.5t declined by -39.5 per cent in September as the global shortage of semiconductors has started to affect the market. Year-to-date sales of LCVs remain 28.4 per cent above last year’s levels.
Robinson added: “September is usually a very positive month for light van registrations as, in addition to fleets and businesses, private buyers who purchase dual-use commercials usually have their vehicles delivered in the new registration plate month (71).
“The vehicles bought by these private buyers are often factory orders as they have detailed specifications, hence the delay in supply.
“Over the last few months, many new LCVs have been sourced from stocks held by the manufacturers at docks and compounds, but the majority of these have now been delivered and registered, causing further delays.”
Robinson said all main sectors of light commercials saw declines in registrations. The high volume/payload LCVs between 2.5-3.5t saw a decrease of -28 per cent with volumes falling from 31,466 units in September last year to 22,647 in the same month in 2021.
“This sector is the backbone of delivery and distribution, and demand is buoyant for new vehicles in this sector; as a result, as soon as component supply issues ease, we expect the built-up demand to absorb every vehicle produced,” Robinson said.
The mid-weight sector (2.0-2.5t) suffered the largest decline (-70.1%) with only 2,661 units registered compared to 8,897 in September 2020, according to the NFDA. It added these vehicles are often of quite high specification and utilise more electronics than a more basic, larger fleet vehicle.
Although the Ford Transit Custom and the larger Transit model took the usual first and second position in registrations, followed in third position by Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, all other makes/models registered fewer than 1,800 units in the month, indicating supply constraints across all brands, the NFDA claimed.
Robinson continued: “Demand for new vans remains robust although a proportion of customers are opting for nearly new light commercials due to the order supply delays quoted to them. This is, in turn, pushing up second-hand van prices.
“The majority of our dealer members feel confident about demand but are concerned about supply, which will hopefully improve in the coming months.”