The commercial vehicle market (CV) saw new registrations increase slightly by 0.8% in September to 43,787 units.
While new car registrations saw an increase of over 8%, the CV market is usually seen as a good indicator for business confidence as work vehicles are replaces.
Total CV registrations are up by 0.5% to 295,231 units for the rolling year.
The van segment saw registrations increase by 1.1% in September, but are down by 2.6% over for the year so far.
Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive, said: "The September plate change provided enough of a boost to stabilise van demand in a challenging economic environment.
"Continuing the trend seen so far this year, light rigids performed strongly in the month growing 23.4%, while light vans and pickups reversed recent declines, recording rises of 8.8% and 17.2% respectively."