Figures from the SMMT show 321,686 new vans registered in 2014, the highest for seven years.
With big truck sales slumping by over a quarter it shows that the van industry has driven the UK automotive recovery even more than cars, which saw a sales rise of under 10% in 12 months.
“A continued demand for vans has seen the commercial vehicle market in 2014 return to pre-recession levels, reflecting the growing confidence of many businesses in the UK.” said Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive.
Looking at the figures in detail, the biggest rise last year was for vans between 2.0 and 2.5 Tonnes, which saw a 42% growth and up to 3.5T registrations rose 19.5% while those up to 2.0T went down over 5%.
The incidents of bad weather also made more buyers look at 4×4 units and this sector enjoyed a 27.4% rise in sales compared to 15.1% for Pickups.
Overall, Peugeot, Renault and Isuzu were the major winners in boosting share last year while Hyundai, Nissan and Iveco did badly.