This year is set to see more pickup trucks registered than ever before, with figures up 9.6 percent during the first five months of 2016. The strong demand has been attributed to further growth in the construction industry, affordable deals on outgoing models and more special editions.
More people turning to pickups
Pickup trucks sales surpassed 40,000 units for the first time last year (40,588 in 2015 according to the SMMT), but 18,674 pickups have already been registered in the first five months of 2016 which represents a 9.6 percent improvement on the previous year.
There have been many explanations for this hike in demand over recent months. A lot of it has been credited to the health of the construction industry, which is expected to grow a further 3.9 percent in 2016.
But there are also factors within the pickup sector that have been sited. The past 12 months has seen a number of special-edition models introduced, like the Amarok Atacama and D-Max Centurion, which tend to sell well with owner-operators.
At the same time, a number of manufacturers are trying to clear their dealer stock of old models. The Mitsubishi L200, Nissan Navara and Ford Ranger have all been updated recently and each manufacturer has offered huge discounts on the existing models.
The new models that have replaced them offer far superior levels of comfort, safety and refinement, which has opened up pickups to a new type of lifestyle customer who would have previously bought an SUV or large estate.
Falling 4×4 Commercial sales
This is in stark contrast to the 4×4 Commercial market, which has experienced a sharp decline in the number of registrations (down 33.6 percent to 3,187). This is mainly due to Land Rover ceasing production of the Defender, which has long dominated the segement.
Analysists attribute this largely to the prospering economy and, more specifically, the construction sector which is expected to increase by a further 3.6 percent in 2016. The SMMT, however, is warning of market saturation and speculates that growth may start to slow.
“Although May was a record breaking month for the UK’s light commercial vehicle market, the pace of growth is easing and is indicative of the performance we anticipate this year following the very high levels of demand seen in 2015”, explained Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive.
“Providing there are no political or economic shocks to business confidence over the coming months, we expect the LCV sector’s good health to prevail during the remainder of 2016 as consumer appetite for online deliveries continues to grow.”