Commercial Vehicle Sales Fall In October

van salesNo Winter Warmer For Vehicle Sales

Despite the recent Indian summer, the van sales market has cooled with the onset of autumn, with a bleak outlook for the remaining months of the year.

A one per cent rise in September fuel cautious optimism, but the news that  dealerships are reporting a slump in figures for October suggests those late summer figures were the exception, rather than the start of a recovery.

October saw a drop of 8.2 per cent in new van registrations. This equates to under 18,000 commercial vehicles rolling out of showrooms.  The autumn slump reflects an overall downtrend in 2012 with the van sales at the same point in 2011 3.5 per cent higher.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Trades (SMMT) has had to revise its own forecasts for the commercial vehicle market in light of recent figures.

“SMMT recently updated its forecast for light van registrations, suggesting a 6.5 per cent drop in van volumes for 2012, a situation reflected by the weak October market that fell 8.2 per cent versus 2011,” says SMMT Chief Executive Paul Everitt.

The current slide started in October 2011, following almost two years of rising van sales. There are some sectors of the light commercial vehicle market which have shown signs of life and new pick-up owners will be rushing to compare van insurance quotes online.

Sales of 4×4’s and pickups on the rise

Sales of 4x4s and pick-ups have bucked the overall market trend with 463 4x4s sold in Ocotber, almost a 10 per cent increase from last year and 2,009 pick-ups being snapped up, showing a whopping 18.8 per cent rise from 2011.

But it is the larger commercial vehicle which has been hardest hit. There has been a 10.4 per cent fall in sales van between 2.5 and 3.5 tonnes with 10,187 new registrations while vans weighing in at between 2.0 and 2.5 tonnes have seen a 14.2 per cent drop in sales after just 2,417 were snapped up.

Commercial vehicles under 2.0 tonnes haven’t escaped either, with the 2,719 new registrations representing an 11.4 per cent drop in sales.

The biggest sector of the market, vans between 2.5 and 3.5 tonnes, slid back 10.3 per cent, with 10,186 registrations. Vans between 2.0 and 2.5 tonnes slid even further, by 14.2 per cent with 2,419 registrations, while the smallest sub 2.0-tonne vehicles were 11.5 per cent down with 2,715 registrations.

Despite the recent announcement that Ford was to close its Transit plant in Southampton, the manufacturers still leads the way in commercial vehicle sales in the UK.

Ford accounts for almost a third of the market, with the Transit remaining the country’s most popular van – small comfort for those workers on the south coast.