Recent new registration figures issued by the Society of Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that 4x4s are enjoying the same success as the mainstream market. Although SMMT doesn’t quote 4×4 figures separately, they are included under the ‘dual purpose vehicles’ segment.

The figures show that volumes are not back to pre-recession levels, although they do show strong recovery over 2009 and above 2008 before the economic slowdown. Month by month data shows the peaking trends you might expect to see at the beginning and end of the year. The last four years for dual purpose production figures are: 2007, 176,290; 2008, 136,525; 2009, 132,472, 2010, 145,312.

Paul Everitt, SMMT chief exec has commented generally on the figures: “Economic conditions remain extremely challenging, but the industry expects demand to strengthen in the second half of the year. UK motor manufacturing recovered particularly well in 2010 and the outlook is for further steady growth this year.”

Diesel penetration also rose to a record 46.1 per cent, in part helped by growth of the dual purpose (SUV) segments. The Commercial Vehicle sector has also shown an improvement, which, naturally includes 4×4 pick-ups.

According to BCA – the UK’s biggest seller of commercial vehicles – there has also been a significant increase in the value of 4×4 pick-ups ercently with both lifestyle and workhorse models performing strongly.

Duncan Ward, BCA general manager – Commercial Vehicles commented: “Well-specified 4x4s are in demand and examples with leather, sat nav, chrome trim, alloys, metallic paint and popular extras like searchlight bars are making exceptional money. Buyers are not so concerned about age and mileage, providing vehicles are in good, clean condition. Damaged examples need to be sensibly valued to generate interest.”

Ward commented: “The 4×4 double-cab sector is reaching a wider audience, and buyer interest has risen sharply since the weather deteriorated in November and December. Double cab pick-ups are becoming de-rigeur at county-fairs, gymkhanas and caravan parks. They are also very competitively valued when compared to the equivalent premium 4×4 in the car market.”

Ward added: “There’s still an active buyer base in the building and construction trades for double cabs as a working tool, of course, from site foreman to self-employed builder for whom it may also be a ‘family car’.”

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