Compared to the relatively upbeat car registrations of 2012, the results for light commercial vehicles reflected a rather more cautious approach from business customers.
The LCV market (up to 3.5 tonnes) struggled all year, reaching 239,641 registrations, a 7.9% decline on 2011.
However, the result still remained 7.5% ahead of 2010’s market and well ahead of the 2009 crash when just 186,386 new vans and pick-ups were registered in the UK.
Society of Motor Manufacturer and Traders chief executive Paul Everitt said it had been “a challenging year” for the UK commercial vehicle market, and he hoped 2013 will be better with a boost from a host of new launches and innovative technologies.
Every segment within the2012 LCV market suffered a decline, with registrations of large vans and small vans both coming under the most pressure.
There were success stories, nevertheless. Peugeot’s 10% growth equated to 1,944 extra units and Mercedes-Benz increased its sales volume year-on-year by 8% or 1,560 vans. Citroën grew its LCV registrations by 6.4%, or 1,104 units.
Martin Hamill, Citroën UK’s fleet director, said a very strong showing with its LCV range, particularly the Berlingo and Relay, delivered major growth in the LCV fleet market.
Market newcomer Great Wall achieved 476 registrations of its Chinese-built Steed pick-up, an average of almost 10 per dealership, while rival Isuzu also increased sales of its pick-ups by 13.6% or 331 units.
At the other end of the scale, 2012’s largest fallers were Mitsubishi, Renault, Vauxhall and Ford.
Ford remains the clear market leader with a 26% share, despite a drop of 11.2%, or 7,854 units, in its LCV registrations.
Vauxhall experienced a 20.9% drop, or 6,990 fewer orders, and fell down to third place in the market as Volkswagen outpaced the overall market decline and took second place.
Mitsubishi’s 33.9% decline equated to 2,488 fewer registrations, and 4,672 fewer orders saw Renault take a 24.1% hit.