UK demand for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) grew by 17.1% to 11,517 registrations in the first three months of 2023, according to the latest figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). The association said, “the fourth consecutive quarter of growth, driven by high demand from the haulage, construction and distribution sectors as well as an easing of long-term global supply chain disruptions, means the market is now just -2.9% below Q1 2019.”
SMMT Reveals Positive News for HGV Sector
The rise in registrations was led by double-digit increases of rigids and articulated trucks. The number of new rigid models joining UK roads rose by 17.3% to 5,838 units, representing the highest Q1 demand for new rigid HGVs since 2019,2 at 50.7% of all new truck registrations. Newly registered articulated trucks, meanwhile, rose by 16.8% to 5,679 units.
There was a rise in demand for trucks in all major segments, with tractors by far the most popular, up by 15.7% to 5,585 units, while some 1,079 new box vans were registered, up 15.3%. New registrations of tippers increased by 6.8%, curtain siders by 34.5% and drop-side trucks by 38.8%.
HGV uptake grew across Great Britain, with registrations in England up 17.2%, representing 87.3% of the UK market. Meanwhile, demand in Scotland and Wales increased by 22.0% and 22.9% respectively. South East England welcomed the most (21.0%) newly registered HGVs, followed by other key UK logistics regions including the North West (13.7%) and East Midlands (12.5%).
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “The fourth quarter of growth shows that the HGV sector’s recovery from pandemic and supply chain shocks now has momentum. For truck fleet renewal to drive UK economic growth and decarbonisation in the long term, however, the zero emission HGV market must gather speed – but operators still need greater certainty that Britain is serious about becoming a globally competitive location for zero emission logistics.”
Hawes continued, “with an abundance of new electric and hydrogen truck models now ready to join UK roads, a plan is urgently needed to deliver HGV-dedicated public infrastructure, along with incentives for net zero vehicle and depot investments that contend with the world’s major decarbonising nations.”