HGV registrations remain flat as industry struggles to recover

Registrations remained flat in the second quarter of 2022 as the industry continues its struggle to recover from Covid-19 and its fallout

UK HGV registrations remained flat in the second quarter of 2022, growing by just 0.4%, as the sector continues to struggle to recover from global supply and demand disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

In all, 9,533 units rolled off production lines in the second quarter, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Despite the Q2 growth, compared with a strong bounce back last year, total performance in the first half of 2022 was 1% down on 2021.

While there has been robust UK demand for HGVs, particularly for articulated trucks and tractors, the global shortage of semiconductors and raw materials such as steel and aluminium has restricted manufacturing capacity, constraining order delivery. As a result, the sector is almost 30% down in the first half of this year compared with pre-pandemic 2019, with 19,370 new trucks registered.

The marginal growth in the second quarter was driven by increased demand for artics, up 19% year-on-year to 4,152 units, with a 12% increase in registrations over the half-year period at 9,014 units. The number of newly registered rigid trucks, meanwhile, fell by 10% to 5,381 units in Q2, and 10% in the year to date to 10,356 units, although the segment has still accounted for 53% of the market this year.

Demand for tractors has remained strong throughout 2022, up 13% and representing 46% of the market so far this year. However, all other segments have seen declines, including box vans (14%), tippers (12%), curtainsiders (10%) and refuse disposal vehicles (29%). Fleet renewal cycles are naturally volatile and are more visible in these lower-volume segments, with registration levels more likely to be artificially impacted by supply shortages.

Across individual nations, there was some notable disparity in performance in the first half of the year. England recorded a 1% decline in registrations, while those in Scotland fell by 9%. Meanwhile, operators in Northern Ireland and Wales registered 24% and 6% more HGVs than last year respectively, although together they represent only 6% of total UK registrations.

“The best second quarter for the heavy goods vehicle market since the pandemic is a positive sign as the sector continues to navigate significant global supply shortages amid high inflation and rising fuel and energy costs,” said Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive.

“Demand remains robust, but to ensure the fleet renewal necessary to transition from fossil fuels to new technologies, government must encourage new vehicle acquisition and HGV charging infrastructure, keeping the UK at the front of the queue for the latest low and zero-emission trucks.”

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.

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