HGV registrations plummet by 73% in second quarter

Registrations of new HGVs fell by 73% in the three months to the end of June, with the lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic largely to blame, new figures have revealed. Statistics from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) showed that just 4,151 vehicles registered in the second quarter of 2020. The months covered included two where the UK was largely locked down and many manufacturers closed production or ran reduced operations.

Likewise, operators were not looking to expand their fleets, with many dealers running reduced operations. This fall was exacerbated as the second quarter of 2019 was particularly strong for sales as buyers sought to make purchases ahead of the introduction of smart tachographs later in the year. While all sectors saw demand fall by more than half, the biggest sector, tractor units, which make up more than a third of all sales, saw the biggest fall, with demand falling by three quarters, with just 1,525 units sold.

Registrations of rigid trucks fell by 73%, with both the >6-16T and >16T segments experiencing similar sharp declines. Manufacturer falls Likewise, all the major truck manufacturers saw demand for their products fall by more than half in the second quarter.

The least affected was Dennis Eagle, with a decline in sales of 36%, although they only shifted 136 units in the quarter. Scania suffered the worst quarter, with sales down 83% year-on-year, and their market share falling by 7%. DAF continued to be the market leader with 30% market share in the quarter, despite sales falling by 73%.

MAN suffered least of the ‘big seven’ manufacturers, with sales down 60% year-on-year, but their percentage market share increasing by 4%. In the year to date, DAF continue to dominate the market. Despite sales falling by 46.5% year-on-year, the Dutch manufacturer has nonetheless increased its market share by 3% to 33.3%.

Volvo has also performed well – relatively speaking – this year, with sales down 43% and increasing its market share by 2% to 14.6%, leaving it just 0.2% behind Scania, the second biggest truck seller this year, although the Swedish giant has seen its market share decline by 4.5%. Mercedes-Benz has also fared badly with sales down by 65% and its market share declining by 3.5%. Among the smaller players, Dennis Eagle has seen sales fall by just 2% this year, and its market share has doubled as customers have been investing in the company’s refuse vehicles.

In the year to date, the market is now 51% lower than the same period in 2019, with 14,120 fewer vehicles registered. Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “Such a sharp decrease in heavy commercial vehicle registrations is deeply concerning given the sector’s critical role in keeping the country moving. While it is important to be mindful of the pronounced boost the introduction of new technologies had on last year’s figures, 2020 has been unprecedented.

“Given the current economic uncertainties, restoring operator confidence will be crucial in driving the UK’s recovery but also ensuring it is a green recovery, as getting more of the latest high-tech, low emission vehicles onto our roads is key to addressing environmental concerns.”

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