New truck registrations top 10,000 in first quarter

 

Demand for new HGVs remained stable in the first quarter of 2017, up 0.4% (or just 43 units) year-on-year, with more than 10,000 units registered despite increasing concerns over the post-Brexit economy and the future of diesel in the UK.

Overall, some 10,406 units were registered in January, February and March this year, up slightly on the 10,363 units registered in the same three months in 2016. Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said the stable start to the year for the heavy truck market was “welcome news, particularly as it follows such a strong first quarter in 2016”. 

Hinting at the wider issues in the UK market Hawes added: “Almost all HGVs are powered by diesel, and thanks to heavy investment by industry, the latest Euro-6 commercial vehicles hitting our roads are the cleanest and safest ever.”

On the face of it, rigids and artics remained stable, up 0.4% and 0.5% respectively. However the lighter end of the rigid market was stronger than the heaver side – with registrations of rigids between 6-tonne GVW and 16-tonne GVW rose 17.2% in Q1, from 2,169 to 2,543, while rigids above 16-tonne GVW fell 8.1% from 4,299 to 3,949.

Artic sales remained stable, with a 40 unit year-on-year rise in 3-axle artic registrations (from 3,521 in Q1 2016 to 3,561 in Q1 2017) offsetting a 20 unit fall in 2-axle variants (from 373 units registered in Q1 2016 to 353 registered in Q1 2017).

This led to a 1.1% rise in overall registrations of artics from 3,894 in Q1 20176 to 3,914 in Q1 2017 – meaning that artics accounted for 37.6% of the overall market.

 

Daf once again led the way with an above market average rise in new unit sales. A unit increase of 4.8% year-on-year to 3,402 – and an increase in market share from 31.3% to 32.7% - put it significantly ahead of its closest competition.  

It will be looking to build on this position following the launch of the new generation XF and CF at the CV Show last month.

The battle for second remains pretty tight. Scania, which has no product range below 16 tonnes, held onto second place with 1,542 units and 14.8% market share. However its year-on-year registrations fell 18.3% from 1,888 units registered in Q1 2016.

Volvo took third place for the first time with a 15.9% year-on-year rise in new unit registrations from 1,239 to 1,436. This gave Volvo a 13.8% share, pushing it above Mercedes-Benz. The German manufacturer still managed an above market average rise in new unit registrations, up 13.2% year-on-year to 1,306 giving it a 12.6% market share. Mercedes stablemate Mitsubishi Fuso continued its recent run with new unit registrations up from 147 to 195.

MAN suffered in the first quarter, with year-on-year registrations down a fifth (20.6%) from 1,030 to 818 and market share down two percentage points from 9.9% to 7.9%.

Iveco, with a strong and steady rise of 4.6% to 795 units is as close to MAN as it has been for many years with a 7.6% share. Renault in seventh did what it does with new unit registrations up 4.5% from 489 to 511.

Scotland was the only region to see a fall in sales in the first quarter of the year, down 2.9% from 833 new units registered to 809. England was flat, recording 8,984 unit registrations compared to 8,975. Both Wales and Northern Ireland recorded small unit increases of 8.4% (285 units) and 12% (327 units) respectively.