Full impact of Covid-19 on truck sales confirmed

The full effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on UK HGV registrations have become apparent with publication of the full SMMT figures for 2020.

The headline figure is that registrations for all trucks above 6.0 tonnes dropped from 48,535 in 2019 to 32,918, a fall of 32.2%. A pre-Christmas resurgence saw the Q4 market down by 10.9%, but this wasn’t enough to counter the 73.4% plummet in Q2.

The only black in a sea of red figures was for rigids above 16 tonnes, which actually increased by 3.4% in Q4 compared with same period in 2019.

The biggest hit over the full year was for tractors, with a drop of 8,266 to 13,926 units, 6x2s seeing almost twice the rate of fall than 4x2s. With almost all body types seeing a fall, the only exception was curtain-siders, which actually saw a slight increase over the year. Overall, DAF Trucks maintained its market leadership, with a record 32%.

Increasing clarity over the effects of Brexit and the roll-out of vaccination provides some hope of a market recovery in 2021.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes, said, “From September, truck utilisation began to exceed pre-pandemic levels – but registrations continued to fall. Operators have been sweating their existing assets given the ongoing uncertainty from lockdown, and an underlying structural decline in the market given many would have renewed their fleet in 2019. Following such a tumultuous year, where the industry has acquitted itself well under the circumstances, it is vital that operators can have confidence restored so they can invest in the latest low-emission vehicles, helping the country to deliver on its green goals while ensuring the economy, and society, continues to move.”

Renault adds new low-entry option to electric D Wide truck range

Renault Trucks’ all-electric D Wide is to get a new low entry cab option to better suit it to urban applications.

The new D Wide ZE Low Entry will cater for waste and distribution operators looking to improve visibility in an urban environment while also going emission-free locally.

The low entry cab is available as a 6x2 rigid with tag axle and steered rear wheels. The Wide cab allows for the driver and three other occupants, while a ‘kneel’ function enables the front of the truck to be lowered by 70mm to aid entry and exit from the vehicle.

Renault says this will make access easier and safer, reducing strain and fatigue on crews required to climb in and out multiple times in a day. For this reason Renault anticipates demand from the waste industry as well as construction and building supplies.

Carlos Rodrigues, Renault Trucks UK & Ireland MD, said: “Renault Trucks’ electric models enable operators to service the needs of our cities with a range of zero tailpipe emissions vehicles. The introduction of a low entry cab model opens up those vehicle types where ease of access and sensitivity to vulnerable road users are particular priorities, including domestic refuse collection and urban delivery services.”

“The D Wide Z.E. LEC’s easier access and excellent direct vision will allow customers to operate more cleanly, more safely and more productively, whilst meeting the highest environmental ambitions,” Rodrigues added.

Production of the Renault Trucks D Wide ZE Low Entry has already begun and units are available to order now.