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For now, we’ll take our regular look at the new van registration statistics for January, as supplied by our friends at the SMMT. You’ll recall that we had originally forecast that December 2023 would be a weak month for electric van registrations as manufacturers held back until the new year so these numbers would count towards their 2024 ZEV Mandate target of 10% of their total registrations. It didn’t quite turn out that way with December turning out to be a strong month, although this was partly down to a strategic disposal of stock by one importer. This left us suspecting that January wouldn’t be the bumper month that we had hoped for…

The overall LCV market rose by a modest 8.4% in January compared to the same month in 2023, driven mostly by strength in the 2.0t to 2.5t GVM sector. Electric vans taken in isolation did well, bucking that trend with 19.4% growth, taking a market share of 4.9%, a rise of 0.4% over 2023. Any increase in this share is great news, but manufacturers are now already playing catch up in their strive to achieve that magic 10% by the end of the year, avoiding those nasty £9000 fines. There’s no doubt though that the arrival of new products this year will boost sales and we could well see a strong second half of the year in particular as they come on stream.

Let’s take a look at the winners and losers in the first month of the year, using data and analysis provided by New Automotive. Coming from nowhere was Volkswagen, taking 21% of the electric van market and achieving that 10% EV share that everyone is chasing. This equates to 265 vans and we’re suspecting that these sales are down to one or two key fleet accounts. Renault gained second place with a healthy 15% share, giving them a 14% proportion of their sales being electric. Third is Peugeot gaining an EV market share of 14% (12% of their van sales) and, after a very disappointing December, Ford hit back to claim fourth spot with 13%, but their 167 vans counted for just 3% of its registrations.

Mercedes-Benz must also be disappointed – despite some new models the company only registered 33 electric vans, just 2% of its sales and Vauxhall, after some very strong performances late in 2023 only sold 96 units in the month, 4% of its total overall.

Product availability, marketing and pricing activities together with fleet orders can give a manufacturer some hefty peaks and troughs from month to month. It’ll be interesting to see how things pan out over the year ahead.