Van registrations rose by almost 20% in 2010 to 222,915 units, according to the SMMT.

Sales in December were up 21.7% year-on-year in December to just over 17,000.

SMMT boss Paul Everitt said the hike in volumes indicated that the market was starting to recover from the recession. The van sector grew in all but one month last year, which the SMMT put down to an improvement in business confidence and a recovery in the construction industry.

“While we still have a long way to go to get volumes back to pre-recession levels, we expect more growth in 2011 and 2012,” said Everitt.

Registrations of light vans of up to two tonnes grew 41% last year, medium vans were up 21% and heavy vans up almost 19%. Pick-up volumes were up 3.4% over the year but a strong finish saw sales surge 77% in December.

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