LDV continued its sales surge in April and bucked a market that saw nearly 4,000 fewer vans registered compared with the same month last year.

The Washwood Heath company, which is fighting back under its new American owner after going into administration last December, sold 737 Maxus vans last month, an increase of 29 per cent over April 2005.

LDV, which took just over three per cent of the UK market last month, was, with the exception of Nissan, the only major vanmaker to increase its sales. Among its key competitors, Ford registrations fell by 11 per cent to 5,872, Vauxhall slumped 21 per cent to 3,624, Volkswagen was down 23 per cent to 1,563, and Mercedes was 13 per cent adrift with sales of 1,685.

The van market overall dipped by 15 per cent to 23,198 last month and was two per cent down at 110,582 on the year. Year to date figures for LDV show the company 21 per cent up at 2,319.

April's figures were down on the 956 Maxus vans that LDV sold in the new registration month of March but the company is still confident of hitting its target of a 50 per cent increase for the year.

It recently took the wraps off the important new minibus variant of the Maxus at the Commercial Vehicle Show at the NEC. It has provisionally pencilled in sales of 2,500 units a year for the new minibus, which goes into full production this month.

Overall, commercial vehicle sales (including trucks, buses and coaches) was slewed in April by a rush to beat new tachograph laws, trade body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said.

The rush to beat the "digitach" deadline of May 1 saw sales of trucks rocket by 110 per cent to 10,751 during the month. It is now illegal to register new trucks, coaches and some business unless they are equipped with new digital tachographs.

"This massive distortion is down to the inept introduction of the digital tachograph law," said SMMT chief executive Christopher Macgowan.

"This legislation has been 15 years in the planning and was finally confirmed on April 11, just 13 working days before it became law."

The CV market rose by 5.6 per cent to 34,514 units in April - three per cent ahead at 136,929 during the first four months of the year.