Busy August for UK’s new-LCV market as used prices slip

12 September 2023


The UK’s new light-commercial vehicle (LCV) market saw a busier August while prices of used models fell. Andy Picton, chief commercial vehicle editor at Glass’s (part of Autovista Group), reviews the latest data.

Registrations in the UK’s LCV market increased for the eighth month in a row in August. The country saw 16,303 new light-commercial vehicles hit the road, up 5% compared to August 2022. Year-to-date (YTD) registrations reached 213,219, a 19.4% increase over the same period last year.

The performance in August, which is typically a quieter month, saw the pickup sector record a 22.3% increase, while vans weighing 2-2.5 tonnes gross-vehicle weight (GVW) rose by 72.1%. Registrations of vans under two tonnes GVW fell by 30.4%, while those weighing 2.5-3.5 tonnes, decreased by 5.1% to 11,549 units. However, this popular weight category still represented the vast majority of new LCVs registered with a market share of 70.8% in the month.

Ford’s reign continues

Eight months into the year, Ford holds three of the top five positions with the Transit Custom, Transit and Ranger. The monthly statistics for August show the Ford Transit Custom and Transit retaining first and second place respectively.

The Stellantis Group saw the Vauxhall Vivaro finish third, the Vauxhall Combo fifth, the Citroen Berlingo ninth (491 units) and the Peugeot Boxer 10th (466 units). The Volkswagen Transporter claimed fourth, the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter sixth (721 units), the Renault Trafic seventh (678 units) and the Toyota Hilux eighth (522 units).

Battery-electric van registrations rose 18.9% to 1,122 units in August and accounted for 5.4% of the overall market YTD, down from 5.5% at the same point in 2022. A strong month for Ford was emphasised further as the manufacturer led the electric-LCV market. Registrations of the E-Transit gave Ford a 26.4% market share, equating to 7.6% of all its production in the month.

Year-to-date, BEV registrations reached 11,414 units, a 16.4% increase on the 9,809 units registered at the same point last year. However, diesel vehicles still accounted for 90% of all LCV registrations. More work is needed to avoid missing the expected zero-emission vehicle (ZEV)-mandated quotas, although the final legislation has yet to be published. Additional effort is needed to prepare for the end of new internal-combustion engine (ICE) vehicle sales in 2030.

Brisk business in August

Volumes of used LCVs entering the wholesale market kept rising in August. While prices were squeezed on all but the very best stock, business was still brisk. In fact, it has been a third busier than twelve months ago.  

Values of vehicles corresponding to Euro 5 legislation have softened further as clean-air zones (CAZ) and ultra-low emission zones (ULEZ) spread. These vehicles also tend to have been worked harder, with many of them clocking up over 100,000 miles.

Sales prices down

The volume of sales increased 13.5% over the month. Meanwhile, average prices fell by 4.4% across the same period, and by 16.2% compared with August 2022. The average age of vehicles sold last month remained almost static, decreasing just 0.1 months to 83.3 months. The average mileage of those vehicles increased by 2% to 81,487 miles, up 0.9% (738 miles) from 12 months ago.

For the first time in a while, more small vans were sold at auction than any other vehicle type, accounting for 33.5% of all sales. Volumes of 4x4 stock accounted for only 11.3% of all sales but attracted the strongest average prices of £14,357 (€16,716), up over £400 on July. Medium vans made up 30.1% and large vans 25.1%. The latter covered more distance than any other model type at an average of 92,974 miles, nearly 3,200 miles less than July.

First-time conversion rates for August fell overall to 72.7% but remained higher than at the same point 12 months ago. The best conversion rates were seen in the medium panel van sector at 75.1%, while a conversion rate of 69.8% in the 4x4 pickup sector was the lowest return.

Used vehicles observed for sale in the wholesale market last month fell by over 5% to just over 39,600 units. 46.5% of all vehicles on sale were valued at £20,000 or more, while 35.4% were on sale for between £20,000 and £10,000. At the lower end of the market, those vehicles in the £10,000 to £5,000 price bracket increased again to 13.6%, while those reaching less than £5,000 rose slightly to 4.5% of the overall market.