Demand for rigids strong while artic sales fall

George Barrow
November 15, 2016


Demand for artics tailed off in the third quarter of 2016, but the rigid market continued to be robust in a new truck market that is at its highest comparative point for eight years.

In June, July and August some 11,242 units above 6-tonne GVW were registered in the UK, down slightly on the same three-month period in 2015 when 11,660 units were registered.

In the nine-months to date 32,676 new trucks have been registered in the UK, up 6.6% on the same period in 2015 when 30,647 units had been registered.

The nine-months of 2016 so far are the strongest nine-month period for new truck registrations in eight years.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said of the third quarter performance: “Disruption to fleet renewal patterns, triggered by regulatory changes, resulted in a significant rise in registration volumes last year. Therefore it’s no surprise to see a comparative decline in the truck market at this point in 2016.

“Despite the decline, the HGV market remains strong, with year-to-date registrations ahead of the same period last year, and now at the highest level in eight years. Maintaining economic certainty for operators will be key to the sector’s ongoing success,” he added.

The breakdown

The number of artics registered in Q3 2016 was down 14.6% from 5,307 in Q3 2015 to 4,532, but the number of rigids was up 5.6% to 6,708 compared to 6,353 in the same period in 2015.Rigids above 16-tonne GVW are up 5.3% year-on-year to 4,335 units, while rigids between 6-tonne and 16-tonne GVW are up 6.1% year-on-year to 2,373 units.

In the first nine-months of 2016 artic sales have been depressed when compared to 2015 performance: 12,743 new artics have been registered in 2016, compared to 14,365 in 2015. Rigids however have shown significant year-on-year growth with 19,930 units registered, up 22.5% year-on-year from 16,274 units. Rigids above 16-tonne GVW are up 22.2% year-on-year to 12,939, while rigids between 6-tonne and 16-tonne GVW are up 23% to 6,991.

Market leader

Daf continued to lead the market in Q3 2016, with a 29.5% market share equating to 3,311 units. Scania was second with a 16% share (1,802 units), despite not having anything in its range below 16-tonne GVW, with Mercedes-Benz third (14.6%: 1,644) and Volvo forth (13.1%: 1,475).

MAN and Iveco remain close with 961 and 934 units registered in Q3 2016, while Renault registered 512 units.

The only part of the United Kingdom that saw year-on-year falls in new truck registration in the third quarter was England, down 5.6% on Q3 2015. Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales all grew in Q3 2016 compared to Q3 2015.

About the Author


George Barrow

George has been writing about nearly anything with wheels for the past 15 years and is the UK jury member of the International Van of the Year and International Pick-Up Award.

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