Van sales rise by 21% in 2023 as LCV market shows strong recovery

The Ford Transit Custom came out on top in 2023 as van sales grew by a substantial 21%, with 341,455 new light commercial vehicles registered – an increase of 59,316 units compared with 2022.

The increase comes as availability of new vans improves in the wake of the global semiconductor crisis, with 2024 registrations projected to be even higher thanks to many fleets delaying renewing their business vehicles over the past three years.

According to the latest figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), a record number of zero-emission vans also joined Britain’s roads with 20,253 battery-powered vans registered during the 12-month period.

Large vans (weighing more than 2.5 tonnes to 3.5 tonnes) were most popular, rising 9.4% to 228,442 registrations – with these models representing 66.9% of all new vans.

The largest growth in volume was for medium vans (weighing above two tonnes to 2.5 tonnes), surging by 78.4% to 57,992 units.

Demand for pickups and 4x4s also rose, by 38.7% and 127.7% to 41,003 and 8063 units respectively, but small vans (weighing equal to or less than two tonnes) saw a fall of 23.7% to 5955 units.

"If 2024 is to be the year of the electric van, investment in chargepoint infrastructure is mission-critical – bringing with it the successful green transition and economic growth the nation needs," says Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive.

Britain’s top 10 selling vans in 2023


Total sales
1. Ford Transit Custom 40,865
2. Ford Transit 28,280
3. Vauxhall Vivaro 20,477
4. Ford Ranger 18,679
5. Volkswagen Transporter 17,487
6. Renault Trafic  16,041
7. Mercedes Sprinter 15,799
8. Citroen Berlingo 14,065
9. Toyota Hilux  10,888
10. Ford Transit Connect 10,856
Ask HJ

What's the best van for towing?

I have a Hyundai i800 but it has an issue where the clutch seems to overheat and stop working which means you have to stop for about 30 minutes which is not ideal. I carry a fair bit of disco equipment and screens around, so I need a van or large-capacity estate vehicle. It would be nice if it had an excellent MPG.
You need to determine what size of van you need based on the size and weight of the equipment you need to carry, as a medium van will generally offer better fuel consumption than a large van, so you should choose the smallest van to suit your requirements. For medium vans you should look at options like the Ford Transit Custom or the Volkswagen Transporter, which can tow up to 2800kg and 2500kg respectively depending on the specification. If you need a large van, options like the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, Volkswagen Crafter and Ford Transit offer up to 3500kg of towing capacity.
Answered by David Ross
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