Up to the end of November, 299,527 commercial vehicles had been registered, a leap of 2.5% over last year.
Christopher Macgowan, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said: 'Van registrations, especially the heavier models between 2.6- and 3.5-tonnes, have been the bedrock of growth this year.
'While the drift to heavier payload vans has undoubtedly had some effect, it is the increased demand for these vehicles that has been the key.'
Heavy vans accounted for 45.9% of all commercial vehicle sales in November, while car-derived vans grew by 1.4%. Although it is up by 2.9% year on year, the rate of growth in the sector is tailing off. The SMMT is estimating the total market will exceed 317,500 by the end of the year.