UK truck registrations lagged behind European rivals in first quarter of 2017


Registrations of new heavy commercial vehicles in the UK in the first quarter of 2017 have struggled to match growth figures in other major European economies, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA).

As the industry awaits a more detailed look at new registrations in the first quarter of 2017 from the SMMT – figures are expected this month – data published by the ACEA shows that registrations of vehicles above 16-tonne GVW in the UK grew by just 0.6% compared to the same quarter in 2016.

However, new registrations of medium and heavy commercial vehicles in the UK above 3.5-tonne GVW grew 5% year-on-year.

The ACEA said that in its heavy commercial vehicles classification 8,322 new trucks were registered in Q1 2017 in the UK, compared to 8,270 in Q1 2016.

In comparison Germany saw a 4.9% rise in new heavy commercial vehicle registrations to 16,826, while France grew 5.7% to 10,672.

However, the UK was more robust in the ACEA’s medium and heavy commercial vehicles above 3.5tonne GVW classification: Q1 registrations grew 5% to 11,730. Germany grew 3.4% in the quarter to 22,986 while France grew 5.9% to 12,399.

The AECA said: “From January to March 2017, 91,665 new trucks were registered in the European Union, 4.7% more than last year… the five big markets posted growth, jointly sustaining positive momentum across the whole region.”

Of more concern to the domestic market would be estimated figures produced by the ACEA for registrations in March in the UK – traditionally a strong month for new vehicle sales.

It estimated heavy commercial vehicles fell 11.7% to 3,749 (compared to 4,246 in March 2016) while medium and heavy commercial vehicles fell 6.4%.

The SMMT no longer reports month-by-month new truck registration data.

"Truly appalling" vehicle maintenance sees O-licence revoked


Salford-based cash and carry firm, Santorini, has lost its O-licence after its vehicle safety standards were condemned as “truly appalling”, following an investigation by the DVSA.

Santorini’s O-licence was revoked by deputy traffic commissioner (TC) for the north west of England, Miles Dorrington, following a public inquiry in March.

A vehicle examiner said the firm had no procedures in place for maintaining its vehicles to the required safety standards. This included no system for drivers to report defects identified before vehicles were used and no inspection paperwork to show vehicles had undergone safety checks. In addition to the safety shortcomings, the company was also operating a vehicle in Norway – which is outside the EU – even though its restricted O-licence only permitted carriage of its own goods in EU countries.

Santorini produced documents relating to vehicle maintenance at the hearing, but the deputy TC said none of this paperwork satisfied him that vehicles were being operated to a compliant and acceptable standard.

Making an order to revoke Santorini’s licence, Dorrington said not only had the firm’s standards been poor at the time of the investigation last September, but they did not appear to have improved by the time of the hearing this year.

He added: “There were virtually no positives in this case. In addition it has come to light about the unlawful operation in Norway and the unlawful use of an operating centre there.

“I have given the operator some credit for being open before me, for the apology offered, and for the lack of prohibitions. After undertaking a careful balancing exercise I have determined that the negatives significantly outweigh the positives.”

Dorrington added if the operator was to run vehicles
after the revocation of its licence, the DVSA could impound them.

By David Harris