First quarter boost for UK HGV market

New heavy goods vehicle (HGV) registrations increased by 9.5 per cent in the first three months of 2021, according to new figures. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said that 10,064 units were registered in the first quarter of the year, up on 2020, albeit following a weak Q1 last year when lockdown measures were introduced partway through March. The numbers registered are still down by 15.1 per cent on pre-pandemic levels in Q1 2019.

Articulated trucks experienced the biggest increase in demand, with registrations up 25.3 per cent to 4,528 vehicles, while rigids decreased by 0.8 per cent to 5,536 units. Tractors remain the biggest segment, making up 44.3 per cent of the market, with 26.6 per cent more units registered than in Q1 2020. Additionally, tipper registrations also increased, up 10.8 per cent.

However, registrations of most segments dropped. SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “The rise in truck registrations is welcome news but it does not yet signify full recovery, especially as it’s in comparison with a quarter when the first lockdown was introduced. “Likewise, the nature of the fleet buying cycle for the HGV market can mean that a large fleet order can have a significant impact on any quarterly figures.

“However, fleet renewal remains the quickest way to get more of the newest, cleanest vehicles on UK roads, particularly as we strive to meet our collective environmental goals.

A plan for a charging and refuelling network suitable for HGVs is pivotal for the transition to these new technologies.”