April van market sees continued growth and electric caution

Registrations of new vans continued to grow in April 2024, with 5.4% more light commercial vehicles sold compared with the same month in 2023, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

A total of 23,889 new vans, 4x4s and pickups was registered, the biggest April total since 2021. The larger 2.5t-3.5t sector was the most popular, with the Ford Transit the UK’s best seller. Small van sales grew by 41.1% with the Citroen Berlingo in top spot. Pick-up volumes also rose, by 16.2%, led by the Ford Ranger.

Despite growth across the van market in general, though, sales of electric vans actually fell in April by 42.4% - down 861 in total – though some of this is likely down to Stellantis Group renewing its entire van range and delays to new, longer range electric models arriving in dealerships. Peugeot sold more electric vans than any other brand during the month.

The SMMT says it expects around 353,000 new vans to be sold in total in 2024 – a 3.3% growth compared with 2023 but warns that uptake is set to remain below the ambitious sales targets set for manufacturers in the Vehicle Emissions Trading Scheme (VETS). Manufacturers continue to invest to deliver more zero emission models with competitive ranges and payloads, quiet operation and high comfort levels – but it says the lack of suitable public charging infrastructure for vans remains a significant barrier to switching to zero emission operations.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “Britain’s new van market continues to grow with the very latest, more fuel-efficient models driving down CO2 – a core mission for the sector. Manufacturers are investing billions to bring electric vehicles to market, however, uptake is slowing and urgent action is needed. If government is serious about delivery of its ambitious targets, it must deploy an equally bold strategy for delivering van-suitable public chargepoints across the UK, now the single most important step to get a greener Britain moving.”

Ask HJ

Is a used Ford Transit Custom a reliable buy?

I am looking at a 2016 Ford Transit Custom, however I have read terrible reviews of this year’s model. The model I am looking at is a limited black 2.0 TDCi 130ps with 80000 miles on the clock. I am aiming to use it as my only vehicle, replacing my car and campervan to cut down costs. Annual mileage will be about 5000 miles.I am a 70 year old woman and live on a small pension, so cannot afford any costly problems. Would you recommend this vehicle, or do you suggest I steer clear of it?
There are a few known issues with cambelt failure on "wet belt" engines on this model (without seeing the VIN plate we can't tell you if it is a wet belt engine or not) but otherwise reliability is good. The issue is that sometimes the belt fails before Ford's recommended seven-year/144,000 mile replacement. Given the age and mileage of the van you're looking at we'd either insist on a new cambelt before sale or alternatively, if it's a private sale, factor in a cambelt replacement cost of circa £750 into the price you offer for the van. Otherwise the Ford Transit Custom is a great van to drive with plenty of affordable parts and repair options.
Answered by Craig Cheetham
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