**The Covid 19 pandemic, semiconductor shortages and supply chain issues hit the commercial vehicle industry hard in 2020. This makes the news that 2021 saw the market bounce back in style even sweeter as we begin 2022 in a slightly more optimistic mood. Vanarama’s Tim Cattlin reports. **
2021’s van registration figures have bounced back from 2020’s dip with a vengeance. 355,380 new vans (including pickups, chassis cab variants and minibuses) were registered - a massive 21.4% increase over 2020’s figures. To give you some context, 2019 was a bumper year for the van market and 2021 was just 2.8% lower than this. It’s a huge achievement and shows just how much confidence has returned to the UK’s economy. The very latest barometer, vans registered in December 2021 sees the best performance for that month since 2015!
No prizes for guessing which vehicle was registered the most in 2021 - it was, of course, the Ford Transit Custom. Yes, this includes car sales. The fact is that Ford registered more Transit Customs than any other car or van in the whole of the UK automotive market - an incredible statistic in its own right.
What makes the year’s performance remarkable is, due to a semiconductor shortage, most manufacturers have struggled to keep up with demand and waiting lists for some models are lengthy. It makes you wonder just what the year-end performance would have been like without these delays.
Who/What Are 2021’s Winners & Losers?
Apart from the country beginning to get back on its feet, there are specific sectors doing better than others and driving the figures up.
Looking at vans at GVMs (Gross Vehicle Mass) of 2.5 tonnes to 3.5 tonnes (roughly the entire medium and large van segments), registrations are up by 27.8%. Strength in the construction sector and the home delivery market have both contributed to this increase.
Despite some manufacturers withdrawing from the UK market, the pickup sector has also performed well with a 19% increase over 2020’s figures. Smaller vans haven’t fared quite as well, with 2.0 tonne to 2.5 tonne GVM models losing just under 1% in the past year.
Is This Down To An Improving Economy?
In short, no. The other reason van users are choosing to replace their vehicles is the changing technological and environmental winds. Low and Ultra Low Emission Zones are here to stay, and if you have an older Euro 5 van it’s going to cost you every time you enter these areas. The London ULEZ has recently been extended out to the north and south circular roads, meaning that thousands more van users are now affected.
Leasing a Euro 6 compliant or electric van means you can enter these zones without charge - so it’s worth looking into sooner rather than later, especially when you consider the number of Low Emission Zones currently planned to appear around the UK. Many already are, if you consider that electric van registrations are up by a whopping 142.3%! Food for thought.
What Were The Top-Selling Commercial Vehicles Of 2021?
Graphic courtesy of SMMT
There are no big surprises in the final table, but Mercedes-Benz will be disappointed to see their Sprinter well behind the Ford Transit in 3rd place, the German manufacturer registering fewer vehicles in 2021 than the previous year.
In the pickup sector, the Ford Ranger remains unbeatable, the only truck making an appearance in the chart.