The UK’s new heavy goods vehicle market overall declined slightly in the third quarter of 2020, down -1.6% with 8,419 units registered, but they are slightly up in Northern Ireland, according to figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
In fact, registrations in Q3 in Northern Ireland rose by 1.8% compared to the same quarter in 2019. However, the fall in Year-to-Date registrations in NI has been quite dramatic – down 42.7% compared to YTD figures for 2019.
The overall market across the UK remains -39.6% down on the same period in 2019, equivalent to a loss of 14,258 units year on year.
But back to the Q3 2020 figures: the decline in Q3 was far smaller than that seen in the first half thanks to the easing of the UK’s first Covid-19-enforced lockdown, balanced by an increase in demand for rigids as key sectors, including deliveries and construction, continued working throughout the pandemic.
This also follows a particularly weak third quarter in 2019, which saw orders pulled forward into Q2 ahead of new smart tachograph regulations.
Articulated heavy truck demand fell by -17.1% in the quarter, although this decline was entirely attributable to an -18.6% drop in tractor registrations, which accounted for more than a third (38.8%) of the HGV market.
Meanwhile, it was a brighter three months for rigid trucks, with the >6-16T and >16T segments growing by 20.8% and 8.5% respectively, leading to a 12.6% overall increase for the segment.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “While Q3 saw some stability return to the HGV market, this may well be short-lived amid fresh autumn lockdowns across Wales and England.
These lockdowns should serve as a reminder of the critical role the industry plays in keeping the country’s shelves stocked with vital supplies, and the need to provide operators with business certainty and confidence.
“As the end of 2020 approaches, this will mean a redoubling of efforts to secure a zero-tariff trade deal with EU, as well as promoting fleet renewal to help drive a green recovery for the sector, and the UK.”