HGV registrations almost double in past three months

HGV registrations rose by 46.3% in April-July this year, as operators made purchases ahead of new smart tachograph regulations coming in later this year. In all there were 15,605 units registered, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). This was the biggest quarter for sales in more than two years and follows on from a strong first quarter of 2019 for truck purchases.

The SMMT attributed some of this spike in purchases to a number of large orders by operators ahead of the mandatory fitment of smart tachographs. From June 15, it has been mandatory to fit smart tachographs in new trucks. Rigid trucks experienced the biggest jump, with registrations up by 51.9% on the same time in 2018 with the >6-16T and >16T segments experiencing growth.

Meanwhile, demand for articulated vehicles also rose, up 38.1% to 6,031 units. Year-to-date figures painted a similar picture, with the market growing by 34.3% to 27,464 units registered so far this year. Both rigid truck and articulated vehicle registrations saw significant growth, with 33.5% and 35.3% respectively, while tractors and tippers remained the most popular HGV.

Across the four nations of the UK truck registrations were up, the biggest jump in sales was in Wales, where there were 476 sales, up more than 88% on the same time last year. England and Northern Ireland also experienced strong growth in sales – up 49.8% and 44.6% on last year respectively. However, sales in Scotland only increased by 3.9% year-on-year.

This follows on from another poor performance in the first quarter – sales are only up 5.9% year on year, more than 20% less of an increase than any other country in the UK. All body types saw a rise in registrations. Tractors units were the most popular segment, with demand growing 34%.

Tanker truck and tower wagon registrations have more than doubled since Q2 2018, up by 109.3% and 111.1% respectively. Tippers and street cleaners also experienced strong growth in the quarter. The biggest selling truck maker in 2019 so far is DAF, with 8,307 units sold – 30.7% of the market.

Second biggest seller is Scania, with 5,320 registrations. They were followed by Volvo (3,431 sold) and Mercedes (3,371) and MAN (2,629). Overall for the first half of the year, registrations of all HGVs are up by 35.3%, with 11,551 registrations compared to 8,538 in the first half of 2018.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT, said that the growth in truck registrations was welcome news. “However, 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 we may see the market level out throughout the second half of the year, especially given the role ongoing political and economic uncertainty could play in deterring further commitments to big fleet purchases.”

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