UK heavy truck sales collapsed in 2014 but SMMT predicts better year ahead

New truck registrations last year in the UK fell 30% to the third lowest annual total in 20 years.

This collapse was seen as inevitable after 2013’s rush to buy the last Euro-5 trucks, but the industry expects to bounce back and return to stability in 2015.

Data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) shows 34,672 trucks of 6-tonne GVW or more were registered last year, slightly below most market expectations.

Although 29.9% down on 2013’s all-time record total, this is only 15.5% below the average of the past 10 years.

The ranking of the big seven truck marques remained unchanged but the huge gap between market leader Daf and second-placed Mercedes-Benz narrowed again. Daf’s market share slid from 28.4% to 24.9% while Mercedes’ rose from 17.8% to 18.7%. As well as moving closer to Daf, Mercedes also pulled away from third-placed Scania, whose share was broadly static at 13.7%. In fourth place, Volvo Trucks inched closer to its Swedish rival by edging up its market share from 11.2% to 11.8%.

Fifth-placed MAN trod water, with a share of 9.8%. Iveco posted its second successive year of market growth, its share up from 7.6% to 8.3%. After two years of decline Renault Trucks reversed that trend, growing its share from 5.1% to 5.9%.

Isuzu Truck was the only marque to see more truck registrations in 2014 than in 2013, beating the general market decline.

Truck registrations are expected to pick up again this year. “The outlook for 2015 is bright,” commented SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes, “with stability expected to return to the market.”

Early industry forecasts point to an increase of around 15%, taking the market back up to 40,000.

? There will be analysis of the 2014 truck market in CM 29 January.