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New truck registrations slump

  • 10 March 2014
  • By David Wilcox

After the spectacular end to last year’s new truck market, the slump in registrations so far this year is every bit as bad as expected.

Data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) shows after the first two months of the year registrations of new trucks of 6.0-tonnes GVW or more are 37.9% down on last year’s total at the same point.

Totalling just 2,652, they constitute the second slowest start to the year ever recorded. Only 2010 was worse, and that went on to become the UK’s smallest ever truck market at just 27,588.

The 6-tonnes-plus market this year is forecast to be 36,000 to 42,000 so that suggests this early slump is temporary and the truck market will recover.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes says the sluggish start to the year is the market adjusting to new Euro-6 legislation. “We anticipate this rebalancing act to be a factor for some months yet,” he added.

The slow-down is sharpest in the sectors that saw the strongest growth last year. Tractor unit numbers in the first two months are down by 41.3%; registrations of all rigid chassis over 16 tonnes GVW are 41.0% below last year’s total at this point. Lighter rigids, between 6.0 and 16.0 tonnes GVW, have not been so badly affected, down by 26.3%.

With such a small market the timing of individual fleet deals for the last Euro-5 trucks can upset the normal rankings. So Daf, with registrations down by 58.7% in the first two months, has been displaced from its customary position at the head of the market by none other than Renault Trucks.

Renault, which finished last year in seventh position with 6.6% of the 6.0 tonnes-plus market, has seen its registrations soar by 133% in January and February, taking it to the top of the table with an 18.5% market share.

Euro-6 is not yet an issue in the van business so demand level here is a more accurate reflection of the market and strength of the economy.

Registrations of vans up to and including 3.5 tonnes GVW grew by 18.5% in the first two months.

Picture caption: Archer’s Transport took delivery last month of the first two Renault T tractor units in its Scania-heavy fleet.


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