Diesel continued to dominate van registrations in 2019

15 April 2020

15 April 2020

A total of 92.8% of all new light commercial vehicles registered in the EU during 2019 ran on diesel according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA). This was an increase of 2.4% from 1,909,835 in 2018 to 1,956,004 last year.

Meanwhile, petrol only accounted for 4.4% of van registrations in the region. This still represented a gain however, with the fuel going from 81,277 units in 2018 to 93,373 in 2019, representing an increase of 14.9%. All alternatively-powered vehicles accounted for 2.8% of the market. Electrically-chargeable vehicles (ECVs) made up 1.2%, increasing by 22.9% with 26,107 registrations in 2019, compared with 21,242 in 2018.

By country

Demand for light-commercial vehicles (LCVs) running on diesel increased across most of the Big 5 European markets in 2019. In Germany demand grew by 7.7%, France increased by 3.4% and registrations in the UK rose by 1.7%. However, the same wasn’t true across the board, with demand for diesel LCVs dropping in Italy (0.3%) and Spain (4%) in the same year.

Petrol-powered vans saw a major increase in demand in all but one of the Big 5 economies. Italy saw the strongest increase at 65.3%, in second was Spain at 30.3% growth, France followed with 27.9%, then the UK at 12.4%. Germany was the only odd one out, where demand fell by 11.7%.

The biggest markets for ECVs were France (8,087 units) and Germany (6,704 units), accounting for roughly 60% of all electric vans registered across the European Union. New hybrid vans saw 4,577 registrations in 2019, an increase of 159.8% on the previous year. ACEA pointed out this is the result of ′a low basis of comparison.’ Hybrid-electric vehicles only accounted for 0.2% of all LCV sales in the region.

Alternative-fuelled vehicle registrations increased by 33.6% to 27,305 units in 2019. The largest EU markets were Italy (10,110 units) and Spain (6,429 units). Spanish demand for natural gas and LPG-powered LCVs increased by 84.5% in 2019 while Italy recorded a growth of 23%.

Internet-shopping trends

According to survey results recently published by Eurostat, 71% of internet users in the EU shopped online in 2019. The share of online shoppers is growing with the highest proportion aged between 16-24 (78%) and 25-54 (76%). The most popular kind of purchases were clothes and sports goods, which are best suited to delivery via smaller commercial vehicle.

Online shopping trends look set to increase in the long-term with the younger, more tech-savvy generations making up the bulk of sales. In the short term, the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has also increased the demand on internet-based retail, with physical shops unable to operate.

This means more LCVs will be needed to make localised deliveries to homes, instead of heavy-goods vehicles (HGVs) to larger shopping outlets. Emissions standards and clean-air zones are also driving commercial demand towards vans, which don’t face the same web of regulations as HGVs in countries across Europe.