The UK’s new heavy goods vehicle (HGV) market rose by 46.3% in the second quarter of 2019, with 15,605 units registered, according to figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
A number of large orders ahead of the mandatory fitment of Smart Tachographs gave a further boost to registrations, and this followed a strong first quarter of the year.
Registrations of rigid trucks grew by 51.9%, with both the 6- to 16-tonne and greater than 16-tonne sectors experiencing growth.
The demand for articulated vehicles also rose — up 38.1% to 6,031 units. Indeed, most body types saw a rise in registrations, including tractor units (the most popular segment), with demand growing by 34%. Tanker truck and tower wagon registrations more than doubled since Q2 2018, up by 109.3% and 111.1% respectively.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive (www.smmt.co.uk
), said: “A second strong quarter for truck registrations is certainly welcome news, but the swell in market size is undoubtedly due to operators choosing to expand their fleet ahead of the introduction of additional regulation.
"This significant performance means that we may see the market level out throughout the second half of the year, especially given the role on-going political and economic uncertainty could play in deterring further commitments to big fleet purchases.”
In contrast, the decline in the UK bus and coach market continued in Q2, with new bus and coach registrations falling by 29.4% compared with Q2 2018, with 1,433 vehicles joining British roads — marking the 10th consecutive quarterly decline for this sector.
Minibus registrations continued to see the most significant decline in demand, falling by 50% to 491 units, while double-deckers also suffered a fall, down 45.1% to 185 units. Single-deck registrations saw a slight improvement, up 6.6% to 757 units registered.
Mr Hawes said: “A 10th consecutive quarterly decline for the UK bus and coach market is very concerning.
“While the cyclical nature of the market causes natural fluctuations, the current climate of political and economic uncertainty, exacerbated by confusion around differing local-authority requirements for clean-air zones, is affecting operators’ confidence and willingness to invest.
"Getting more of the latest high-tech low-emission buses on our roads has a vital role to play in improving local air quality, and we need the right business conditions to encourage fleet renewal.”