2009 was a tough year for the new light commercial vehicle market, which ended the period 35.61% down on 2008’s registrations.
Even with an armoury of highly competitive offers and the scrappage scheme manufacturers and dealers have had to fight to encourage businesses to invest in replacing their fleets.
Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive, said: “Van demand dropped sharply in 2009, though eased at the year-end.
"Business demand and consumer confidence remains low and the effects of recession will be slow to clear in key parts of the commercial vehicle markets.
“It is essential that Government helps to sustain economic recovery by encouraging capital investment and more affordable finance.”
Declining fortunes at some heavy van specialists, including LDV, Vauxhall, Iveco and Fiat, created opportunities for market share gains for several of their rivals.
Volkswagen and Peugeot both took significantly larger slices of the total LCV pie in 2009, and even clear market leader Ford managed to stretch its neck out further by almost 0.5 percent-age points.
Hardest hit segments were heavy vans (2.5-3.5t gvw), down 40.1% to 106,352 units, light vans (up to 2t gvw), down 39.9% to 34,167 units, and pick-ups, down 24.2% to 18,870 units.
The Scrappage Incentive Scheme has had a limited impact on new LCV sales.
Latest estimates suggest it accounted for less than 5% of van registrations in 2009.