HGV sales drop in Q3 but remain strongest since 200815 November 2016

Sales of heavy goods vehicles fell in the third quarter of 2016, however the small decline (3.6%) follows five consecutive quarters of growth and year-to-date registrations are still up by 6.6% against the same period last year – the strongest year-to-date figure since 2008.

That’s according to Q3 figures released yesterday (14 November) by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, which said the quarterly decline was “no surprise”.

Demand for rigids remained strong in Q3, up by more than 6% for 6-16 tonners and by 5% for over 16 tonnes.

Registrations of three-axle artics fell by more than 17% following growth of 38.6% in this segment the previous year.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, says: “Disruption to fleet renewal patterns, triggered by regulatory changes, resulted in a significant rise in registration volumes last year. Therefore it’s no surprise to see a comparative decline in the truck market at this point in 2016.

“Despite the decline, the HGV market remains strong, with year-to-date registrations ahead of the same period last year, and now at the highest level in eight years. Maintaining economic certainty for operators will be key to the sector’s ongoing success.”

The bus and coach market rose by 14% in Q3, with growth driven by double-deckers which were up by more than 31% against the same quarter last year.

Sales of minibuses and single-deckers were also strong, recording growth of 14% and 4.2% respectively.

Hawes welcomes the results but cautions: “For this sustained demand to continue, fleet operators must have certainty to invest. Urgent clarity on the details of the potentially market-changing Bus Services Bill and its measures to devolve bus franchising to local authorities is now needed.”

Laura Cork

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Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders Ltd

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