May shows first sign of market recovery

For the first time in 2012 the van retail market has shown its first sign of market recovery, with van sales numbers for the month of May having increased significantly when compared to figures for the same month in 2011.

According to the latest figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT), sales of vans weighing up to three and a half tonnes totalled 21,103 in May, representing a noteworthy rise of 6.5 per cent compared to May 2011. This represents the first monthly rise to be seen in 2012, although there is a still long way to go to bring sales figures to the level they were at last year. Thus far sales for 2012 are down 11.9 per cent on 2011’s figures.

Strangely enough it was not the market’s three biggest players that enjoyed the majority of the success. Ford did do particularly well with an impressive gain of 21.2 per cent, whilst the second and third biggest selling manufacturers, Volkswagen and Vauxhall, saw drops of 16.9 per cent and 11.3 per cent respectively.

It was the smaller operators in the UK market that experienced the greatest degree of success. Peugeot’s sales rose by almost a quarter (23.8 per cent) when compared to the same period last year; Citroen grew by 14.6 per cent; Mercedes Benz rose by 13 per cent, whilst Iveco enjoyed a 17 per cent increase in sales. However, the biggest winner was Fiat, which benefitted from a substantial 27.6 per cent upturn in fortunes when compared to May of last year.

In the class up from the three and a half tonne and under category there was even more dramatic success. For the year to date, van sales for vehicles weighing in at between three and a half and six tonnes totalled 3,696, representing an increase of 58.3 per cent up until the same time last year.

The SMMT chief executive, Paul Everitt, said: “We are delighted to see this early sign of a reversal in the van and truck sales market. Obviously it is too early to tell whether May’s figures are a one-off or whether they represent a significant shift in fortunes, but coupled with excellent truck performance, it is certainly a welcomed sign of increasing confidence in the sector.”

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