The UK new LCV market fell by 5.6% in the crucial plate-change month of March, according to figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
Driving the year-on-year decline was a big fall in registrations in the largest segment of the market, for vans weighing 2.5 to 3.5 tonnes, where there was a drop of 10.5% to 36,027 registrations.
Registrations also fell for vans weighing 2.0 tonnes to 2.5 tonnes, which at 8,324 were down by 2%.
Better performing segments were pick-ups, which saw a 6.8% rise in registrations to 10,314, and vans weighing less than 2.0 tonnes, which recorded a 1.8% increase to 4,892 registrations.
The niche four-wheel drive segment saw a 73.9% increase, but at just 207 registrations this represents a tiny fraction of the market.
Overall, 59,764 LCVs were registered during March.
For the year to date, 94,374 new LCVs have been registered, a drop of 3.7% compared to the same period in 2017.
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “A decline in the important plate-change month of March is a concern and we need the right economic conditions to restore market stability and encourage buyers to invest in new commercial vehicles.
“The new van market is a key barometer of business confidence and while uncertainty remains, a degree of fluctuation in demand is to be expected this year.”
The Ford Transit Custom remains the UK’s bestselling LCV, with 9,397 registrations during March.
The Ford Transit was second, with 5,255, and the Volkswagen Transporter was third, with 4,292.