CV registrations drop in 2012 despite heavy truck numbers increasing

Total commercial vehicle registrations fell during 2012, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Registrations from January to December were down 5.9% across truck and vans, with the decline attributable to lower light commercial vehicle sales.

Registrations of commercial vehicles above 3.5 tonnes were up 6.4% on 2011 figures, while vans (registrations below 3.5 tonnes) were down 7.9%. Truck registrations were particularly strong amongst rigid vehicles, with figures for the year showing an increase of 28.8% for vehicles between 3.5 tonnes and 6 tonnes, 15.2% for rigid trucks up to 16 tonnes, and 11.4% for vehicles over 16 tonnes. This saw registrations increase from the 24,524 units recorded in 2011 to 28,605 units in 2012, an increase of 16.6%.

Artics fell when compared with the previous year, with 17,097 truck registrations in 2012, down 7.2% on 2011’s 18,420 units. The larger volume of rigid vehicles did, however, leave registrations in the truck market up slightly in 2012 by 6.4%, with 45,702 registrations above 3.5 tonnes.

Below 3.5 tonnes, light commercial vehicles saw declines across the board, with double digit drops in small, medium and large vans. The market for vans below two tonnes contracted the most, recording a 11.4% decline, with 4x4 and pick-up truck registrations dropping the least, a decline of just 6.4%. Registrations for all commercial vehicles below 3.5 tonnes fell 7.9% to 239,641, down from the 2011’s three year high of 260,153.

As a result of the drop in van registrations, the 2012 commercial vehicle market as a whole declined to 285,343 units from 303,097 in 2011.

Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive, said: "While 2012 has been a challenging year for the UK commercial vehicle market with heavy trucks the only sector performing positively during the year. The commercial vehicle market ended 5.9% down on 2011 as business confidence wavered. Vans have struggled all year with just under 240,000 registered while truck volumes tailed-off towards the end of the year.

"We look forward to 2013 being a better year for the commercial vehicle market with a host of new products and innovative technologies boosting registrations," he added.