HGV registrations fall in third quarter following regulatory changes

Registrations of new HGVs fell by 13.1% from July to September year-on-year, a decline partly fuelled by regulatory changes that saw operators pull purchases forward into the first half of the year.

Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) revealed that 8,557 trucks were registered in Q3, compared to 9,852 in 2018. This figure was the worst quarterly performance in the past two years.

The fall was put down to purchases made by operators ahead of the mandatory fitment of smart tachographs to all new trucks, which came in on June 15. Indeed, in the months April to July, registrations were up by 46.3% year-on-year.

Demand fell by nearly a third (32.6%) in Scotland between July and September, and by 22.1% in Northern Ireland. Sales in England also registered a double-digit decline, of 11.2%. Sales only fell by 2.4% in Wales, although that is the smallest market.

The most significant decline in registrations was in the >6-16t segment, which saw sales fall by 28.5%. The >16t segment also shrank markedly, by 15.7%. Meanwhile artics registered a more modest fall of 3.4%.

Tractors remained the most popular vehicle, despite a 4.7% drop in demand, accounting for almost half of the market. All other body types experienced declines, with curtain sided trucks experiencing the biggest percentage fall, down 28%.

Despite the fall in the quarter, the new HGV market remains strong in the year to date, with registrations in the first nine months up 18.8% year-on-year to 36,021. Both rigid truck and articulated vehicle registrations show growth, up 16.2% and 22.4% respectively.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “Given the rush to register new trucks before the introduction of new regulations in June, the slowdown in quarter three was anticipated, and we expect to see the market to continue to rebalance in final part of the year. To curtail further losses, however, and to get more of these high-tech low emission vehicles on our roads, we need the right conditions to give operators confidence to continue to invest in their fleets.”

Dan Parton
Dan Parton
Dan Parton is a former editor of Truck & Driver, the UK’s biggest selling truck magazine. He is now writes for The Van Expert and The Truck Expert.

Latest articles