Ford Transit CustomBooming business confidence has helped record the best-ever three months for new van sales in the UK, the SMMT has revealed.

Over 108,000 new commercial vehicles were registered in the UK between January-March 2015, including more than 12,000 Ford Transit Custom (pictured above) and over 7,500 UK-built Vauxhall Vivaro.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes called it “a very encouraging picture”.

The SMMT says demand is expected to remain strong in the months ahead, as van sales recover after suffering badly in the recession: 388,488 new commercial vehicles were registered in 2007, but this dropped to just 221,132 in 2009 – a 32 per cent decline.

The past 12 months have seen van sales hit 384,120 and the SMMT expects the current growth trend to continue.

Home deliveries driving ‘all-time high’

It’s big growth in home deliveries from online shopping that’s helping drive new commercial vehicle sales, reckons the SMMT. 97,775 vans have been registered in the past quarter, it sales – a 22 per cent increase on 2014. Indeed, annual van sales are now nearing an all-time high.

Britain is Europe’s third-biggest market for vans and trucks – but in the past two months, growth exceeded the two bigger markets of Germany and France.

“As business confidence grows,” said Hawes, “demand for the latest vans and trucks is now back to pre-recession levels – outpacing the rest of Europe.”

Britain’s favourite van is, as always, a Ford: the good-looking Transit Custom easily beat all-comers to sit at the top of the charts. With over 5,000 Ford Transit and 4,000 Ford Transit connect sales, the blue oval’s van domination is complete.

Britain’s best-selling vans, Q1 2015

1 Ford Transit Custom: 12,627

2 Vauxhall Vivaro: 7,449

3 Volkswagen Transporter: 5,765

4 Peugeot Partner: 5,611

5 Ford Transit 5,276

6 Citroen Berlingo: 5,207

7 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter: 5,012

8 Ford Transit Connect: 4,096

9 Renault Trafic: 3,368

10 Peugeot Boxer: 2,844