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Winners & Losers: 2019 LCV Market Round-Up

The UK van industry had another solid year in 2019 with registrations up 2.4% to 365,778 units. Small vans witnessed the largest growth with sales up 10.5% although the large van sector performed well with big gains for the Sprinter, Crafter and MAN TGE thanks to the thriving home delivery sector.

“A healthy van market is good news for the industry, environment and exchequer and so the rise in 2019 registrations is very welcome”, Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive.

Best selling van models; 2018 and 2019
Best selling van models; 2018 and 2019

“As we enter a new decade, however, we need this upward trend to continue if we are to address environmental concerns. The quicker these new vehicles become commonplace, the quicker their positive impact on air quality and climate change will be felt”.

“Manufacturers will continue to invest in new, cleaner technologies but, ultimately, it is businesses that will determine the pace of change. Business positivity is essential to give companies the confidence to invest in their fleets.”

1 – Ford

While it may have been a tough year for Ford, they still lead the pack by quite some margin. The blue oval registered 117,500 LCVs in 2019 (down 6.8% from 126,072), but it still retains almost a third of the market.

The Ford Transit Custom and Ford Transit, the best and second-best selling vans in the UK respectively, recorded 8,500 fewer registrations than 2018.  

2 – Volkswagen

Volkswagen consolidated its second-place position with a modest 0.7% increase to 42,444. Transporter sales took a hit last year – falling from 21,763 to 19,608 – but in just its second full year, sales of the large Crafter van thrived 40% to almost 10,000 units. Another notable gain was in the contracting pickup sector, where the Amarok registrations increased almost 12% to 3,839.

3 – Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz reclaimed third place in its record-breaking year of 36,982 (up 14.7% from 32,255). A huge proportion of this growth attributed to its financial services, with the company lending over £400m.

Most of the growth came from the Sprinter – and chassis cab variants in particular – with sales increasing by over 4,000 units.

4 – Vauxhall

Vauxhall seems to be settling into life under new owners well, recording the largest growth in the top 10 of 27.3%. While sales of its best-seller, the Vivaro, were fairly flat, the little Combo (now based on the PSA platform) saw a huge uplift.

When combined with the sales of Citroen and Peugeot, Groupe PSA now controls over a quarter (26.2%) of the UK LCV market.

5 – Peugeot

While it wasn’t a terrible year for Peugeot – sales were down just 2.0% – the huge surge from Mercedes-Benz and Vauxhall sees them drop from third to fifth. There shouldn’t be too many headaches in the Peugeot camp though; 2019 was a model changeover year and that is where it lost most of its ground.