Fleet News

LCV sales fail to reflect booming UK economy

THE UK's light commercial vehicle sector, so often seen as a barometer of the national economy, failed to reflect booming UK business in 1999. Total van sales were 2.3% down on 1998 at 231,761 units (1998: 237,323), although the full year total was still the third best of the decade, and well above any year between 1991 and 1997.

The mid-van sector of 1,800kg- 3,500kg was down just 233 units to 143,027 registrations on 1998, but still higher than any other year since the bumper years at the end of the 1980s. The Ford Transit, however, had a tough year awaiting its replacement this March, with sales down by almost 5,000 units to 51,316 (56,055).

The slack was picked up by the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, with sales up to 19,161 (18,385), the Citroen Relay whose sales rose to 5,196 (4,119) and the Peugeot Boxer which increased its sales by 44% to 7,154 (5,832). Indeed, Peugeot celebrated a record-breaking year in 1999, with its LCV registrations up 13% to 12,773 units, and the Partner selling more than 5,500 units, 24% up on 1998.

Trading was more difficult in the sub-1,800kg market during 1999, with year-on-year sales down 3.7% to 78,542 (81,564), with Ford again losing about 5,000 sales as it posted full year results of 25,040 units (30,249). But Citroen, Daihatsu, Peugeot, and Renault all increased their sales, with Renault performing particularly strongly, as combined Clio van and Kangoo sales rose to 8,651 (6,395).

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