Van and truck sales - a key indicator of the true state of the economy - are giving the lie to gloomy surveys purporting to show that business confidence is slumping, according to the latest industry figures.
Commercial-vehicle registrations rose strongly by 11.9 per cent to 32,678 in April and were six per cent up at 395,300 on a rolling year basis.
The figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders underlined a strong upward trend that has lasted since 2002. The SMMT figures show that most sectors of the CV market set record sales in April, with the strongest gain (14.5 per cent) registering in the 1.8-2.6 tonne market.
With fleet orders for its new Maxus range of vans coming in, Birmingham-based LDV showed a 55 per cent gain in April with sales of 573. The company's year-to-date decline of 22 per cent is largely explained by the run-out of its previous Pilot and Convoy models.
Coventry-based London Taxis International sold 264 of its black London cabs last month. At 911, the year-todate figure was eight per cent up on the same period of 2004.
Land Rover saw sales of CV variants of its vehicles fall by 13 per cent to 411 in April and by 19 per cent to 1,783 on the year so far. And before its crash into administration, MG Rover sold just one of its saloon-based vans in April, a fall of more than 90 per cent over the same month last year.