Van sales saw a large increase in volume in the plate-change month of March, with registrations up 23.6% year-on-year to 61,894 units, according to new figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

Vans between 2.5 and 3.5 tonnes led the growth in volume terms, up 23.8% in March to 67,695 units. Commercial 4x4s and pick-ups saw the biggest increase in growth with registrations up by 50.5% to 2349 units and by 27.6% to 7463 units respectively.

More manufacturers are looking to enter into the growing pick-up market, with Mercedes and Renault both confirming one tonne models.

Van registrations are up 22.3% year-to-date to 339,544 registrations.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “Demand for commercial vehicles remains buoyant in 2015, with both vans and trucks achieving a strong first quarter performance yet again.

“This continued upturn, and the third month of consecutive growth, can be attributed to higher levels of consumer and business confidence.”

Hawes said there has been a clear shift in the van market towards larger vehicles for the first three months of the year.

He said: “2.5 – 3.5t have seen a sharp increase in registrations as operators seek to make their fleets as flexible and cost-effective as possible.”