The full-year registration figures for the UK HGV market have (finally) been published by the SMMT, with the net result showing a 2.6% decline in the overall market compared to 2016’s results.
The 2.6% decline represents about 1,200 units, with a total of 45,045 new vehicles registered during 2017 compared to 46,231 the year before. The SMMT describes this as “a result of fluctuating fleet buying cycles and ongoing economic uncertainty”.
Within the overall market results, however, is quite a mixed bag. Rigid vehicles saw the greatest losses overall, with a 5% decline for the year. This was weighted more towards the >16-tonne category, which saw greater losses than the 6-16 tonne sector.
Articulated vehicles ended the year slightly up, by less than 1% over the previous year. This was achieved thanks a 2% increase for 3+-axle artics, which outweighed a 9% fall in the much smaller market sector for 2-axle artics.
The refuse truck sector performed particularly well in 2017, with an increase of nearly 23% on the year before.
Annual results disguise poor Q4
The full-year results were certainly dragged down by poor results across the board over the last three months of the year. Rigid registrations were down by 12.5% compared to Q4 2016, and articulated vehicles were down by more than 6%.
Of the top five body types, only refuse disposal was better than the same period last year. Looking geographically at the results by nation, England and Northern Ireland recorded 5% drops while Wales was down by more than 33% and Scotland by 41%.
As is traditional for all its registration result releases in every category, the SMMT took the opportunity to place responsibility for the market’s future entirely on the government’s shoulders.
In remarks which echo literally every SMMT press release of the last 18 months, CEO Mike Hawes said: “To avoid long-term disruption, government must address economic and political concerns and restore the business certainty needed for this important market to prosper.”