UK light commercial vehicle sales dropped by 5.8% year-on-year in June to 35,182, according to the Society of Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
After a recent blip the pick-up market returned to growth in June – up 4.1% year-on-year to 5,019 units but it stood in isolation compared to the other major sectors, which all registered monthly declines.
Small vans weighing under 2.0-tonnes fell 18.2% to 2,825, the 2.0 to 2.5-tonne weight bracket covering light vans was down 7.3% to 5,739 and the biggest volume 2.5 to 3.5-tonne segment, covering medium and large vans, fell 6.4% during June to 21,374 units.
The niche 4x4 sector provided some relief to the overall gloom, however, up 389%, which equated to 225 models leaving showrooms.
For the first half of the year the overall market remained steadier, down just 2.3% to 180,696 compared to the same period in 2017 and the SMMT pointed out this represented a 35.7% increase on the corresponding period five years ago when the industry was still struggling to escape the impact of the recession.
In the year to 30 June sales of vans weighing between 2.5 and 3.5-tonnes fell 4.0% to 110,449 and the sub-2.0-tonne sector dipped 9.6% to 14,108. Pick-up sales edged up 1.3% to 27,392 however, and the 2.0-2.5-tonne segment rose 3.4% to 27,861 compared to the first six months of 2017.
SMMT boss Mike Hawes cautioned that in the current political and economic climate, the market could struggle to return to growth.
“UK van registrations have fluctuated throughout the first half of this year, reflecting variable buying cycles, which are a natural feature of the market,” he said.
“Despite this and recognising the fact that demand is still at a historically high level, the overall trend is downwards, with Brexit uncertainty and its negative effect on business confidence threatening long-term growth.”
The Ford Transit Custom remained the UK’s best-selling LCV in June and the blue oval brand filled the three top spots with the Transit and Transit Connect. The Vauxhall Vivaro and Peugeot Partner completed the top five.
Looking at how the main manufacturers performed in the first half of the year, market leader Ford was ahead, as were Volkswagen and Peugeot, Citroen held an even keel but Mercedes, Vauxhall, Renault and Nissan saw downturns.