New HGV market almost doubles in Q2 with registrations up by 46.3%

15 August 2019

  • UK new heavy goods vehicle registrations rise by 46.3% in Q2 as operators pull forward purchases ahead of new regulation.
  • Growing demand for Rigid and Artic trucks, up 51.9% and 38.1% respectively.
  • Tractors remain most popular body type, growing 34.0%, while tanker truck and tower wagon registrations double.
  • Year-to-date registrations rise 34.3% with total 27,464 units registered so far in 2019.

The UK’s new heavy goods vehicle (HGV) market rose 46.3% in the second quarter of 2019, with 15,605 units registered, according to figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). A number of large orders ahead of the mandatory fitment of Smart Tachographs gave a further boost to registrations and following a strong first quarter of the year.

Registrations of rigid trucks grew by 51.9%, with both the >6-16T and >16T segments experiencing growth. Meanwhile, demand for articulated vehicles also rose, up a significant 38.1% to 6,031 units.

The majority of body types saw a rise in registrations, including Tractors, the most popular segment, with demand growing 34.0%. Tanker truck and tower wagon registrations have more than doubled since Q2 2018, up by 109.3% and 111.1% respectively.

Year-to-date figures painted a similar picture, with the market growing by 34.3% to 27,464 units registered so far this year. Both rigid truck and articulated vehicle registrations saw significant growth, with 33.5% and 35.3% respectively, while tractors and tippers remained the most popular HGV.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,

A second strong quarter for truck registrations is certainly welcome news, however the swell in market size is undoubtedly due to operators choosing to expand their fleet ahead of the introduction of additional regulation. This significant performance means we may see the market level out throughout the second half of the year, especially given the role ongoing political and economic uncertainty could play in deterring further commitments to big fleet purchases.

Notes to Editors

From January 2019 SMMT offers an enhanced MVRIS data service to its members. SMMT will continue to publish data on a quarterly basis, enabling us to better reflect the long-term trends in these low volume markets and offer clearer insight and analysis. To ensure the most accurate data is published, 2019 HGV figures compare SMMT MVRIS data with DVLA data for 2018.

UK bus and coach market decline continues in second quarter

15 August 2019

  • New bus and coach registrations fall -29.4% in Q2, with 1,433 vehicles joining UK roads.
  • Demand for both minibuses and double-deckers halves, down -50.0% and -45.1% respectively.
  • Single-deck demand stabilises after a slow first quarter, up 6.6% to 757 units.
  • Year-to-date registrations decline -30.8%, with Q2 marking the 10th quarterly decline.

New bus and coach registrations fell -29.4% in the second quarter of this year, with 1,433 joining British roads, according to figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Quarter two marked the 10th consecutive quarterly decline for the sector, as economic and political instability and uncertainty over Clean Air Zone plans continued to affect operator confidence.

Minibus registrations continued to see the most significant decline in demand, falling -50.0% to 491 units, while double deckers also suffered a fall, down -45.1% to 185 units. Single-deck registrations saw a slight improvement, up 6.6% to 757 units registered.

Year-to-date figures paint a similar picture, with demand in the first half of the year down -30.8%. Registrations of minibuses and double-decks fell significantly, dropping by -53.0% and -18.5% respectively. At the same time, single-decks recorded a 0.7% rise for the first time since 2015, with 1,179 registered in the first six months.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,

A 10th consecutive quarterly decline for the UK bus and coach market is very concerning. While the cyclical nature of the market causes natural fluctuations, the current climate of political and economic uncertainty, exacerbated by confusion around differing local authority requirements for clean air zones, is affecting operators’ confidence and willingness to invest in the market. Getting more of the latest high-tech, low-emission buses on our roads has a vital role to play in improving local air quality, and we need the right business conditions to encourage fleet renewal.

Microlise launches telematics solution for smaller fleets

14 August 2019

Microlise has launched a new telematics solution aimed squarely at smaller fleets.

The company’s new Focus system has been designed specifically to give smaller operators access to the same data and fleet performance intelligence as their larger counterparts.

It provides users with the tools needed to improve operational efficiency, maximise vehicle utilisation, reduce costs and environmental emissions, support drivers and improve safety and compliance outcomes.

Optional add-ons include a multi-camera solution, incident analysis and a remote digital tachograph download.

Stephen Watson, Microlise Director of Product, said, “There are a number of telematics solutions on the market, but Focus is tailor-made for smaller fleets and provides users with usable data to support fleet utilisation, without flooding them with data they simply don’t need.

“Our aim is to make it possible for every fleet owner to deploy next generation telematics across any make and model of vehicle.”

FEATURE: Wellbeing of commercial drivers boosted by group activities

14 August 2019

The mental health of those working in the commercial vehicle, transport and logistics sectors has become a big focus in recent years.

Much of this has been driven, of course, by a changing culture in wider society and by greater awareness and willingness to talk about mental health matters.

It’s becoming more important than ever for employers to take steps to protect the mental wellbeing of team members, if they are to avoid losing their best people.

The Driving Better Mental Health campaign launched at this year’s CV Show, aims to raise awareness of the importance of wellbeing of commercial vehicle drivers.

It concluded that playing chess was one of the best ways of relieving the pressures getting people to talk more frequently and openly about their feelings and concerns.

As part of its efforts to tackle issues such as loneliness and isolation – other factors which frequently have a negative impact on mental health – it offers drivers the opportunity to connect with others in their community over a short game of chess.

5asideCHESS is a Social Enterprise determined to reconnect people in a disconnected world through a short form game of chess, which can simply be used by experienced players and novices alike to connect and engage.

The 5asideCHESS team are currently part-way through a year-long UK tour on the Battling Suicide Bus, stopping at service stations throughout the country. They are promoting chess as a simple and effective way to get people back into the ‘Art of Conversation.’

David Footitt, a special ambassador for campaign supporter How’s My Driving?, said, “Research shows that maintaining good mental health is an important subject for us all. With the needs of the job, commercial vehicle drivers tend to be isolated for long periods of time and can lack the benefits of regular social interaction. Mental health can quickly suffer.”

He added, “Drivers can quickly strike up a game of chess wherever they take their stops and use the game as an opportunity to chat, re-ignite friendships and find new ones. ‘Drive Better Mental Health’ aims to introduce and promote the 5asideCHESS concept to the logistics industry and get people playing, talking and connecting.”

A new study released this week by Mercedes-Benz Vans confirms the need for initiatives like 5asideCHESS. The study asked 2,000 van drivers questions about their working practices and mental health.

Almost half of all respondents (47%) said they find it a continual struggle to ‘switch off’ from work once their day is done and that the ‘always on’ culture is putting them under increasing pressure, which many struggle to cope with.

Of the 2,000 respondents, 24% said they suffer with anxiety, 21% with depression and 23% with stress.

The average survey respondent said they are ‘uncontactable’ by work for just seven hours a week and an alarming 16% said they are alert to the pressures of work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with no respite.

After identifying levels of stress in the workplace, the Mercedes study looked at whether other activities, like sport and exercise could hold part of the answer to improving the mental health of those in the industry and relieving the stresses and pressures of their working lives.

More than two-fifths (44%) of those surveyed said sport, be that watching or participating, is their key outlet when trying to wind down from work, with football, rugby, tennis and golf the most popular choices.

Meanwhile, more than a quarter (26%) said regular exercise was crucial to them being able to unwind after a day behind the wheel.

Steve Bridge, Managing Director, Mercedes-Benz Vans UK, said, “Our previous Business Barometer report showed that almost a quarter (23%) of UK van drivers haven’t been to see their GPs at all in the last year. This means that mental issues, as well as physical, could be going unreported and unmanaged.

“And as we continue to highlight the importance of self-care awareness in the industry, we wanted to examine the link between mental health and one of the community’s most popular hobbies – sports.

“As a huge fan myself, I can say that football really is more than just a game – and as our new research reveals, it could even be essential to tackling mental health in the UK.”

Nikola awarded grant to advance research

14 August 2019

The US Department of Energy has awarded Nikola Motor Company a $1.7 million grant to advance its research into fuel cell membrane electrode assembly (MEA).

The move is designed to accelerate the company’s work to develop future trucks offering cleaner and greener performance.

Nikola is largely focused on the development of durable hydrogen technology for use in commercial trucking.

Jesse Schneider, Nikola’s executive vice president for hydrogen and fuel cell technologies, said, “This award provides an opportunity for the highly talented Nikola team to leverage expertise in academia and exceptional resources within the DOE Fuel Cell Consortium for Performance and Durability to accelerate a breakthrough that will benefit the entire hydrogen and fuel cell industry and community.”

DHL makes major fleet investment

14 August 2019

DHL Supply Chain is to invest a massive £90 million adding more than 1,000 new vehicles to its UK fleet in 2019.

The spending will see the contract logistics specialist add everything from tractor units to specialised rigids and multi temperature-controlled vehicles.

All will be equipped with the advanced safety features, including cameras, Microlise telematics and the latest engine technology.

Ian Clough, Managing Director, Network Logistics and Transport, UK & Ireland, DHL Supply Chain said, “Not only are we investing in our infrastructure to support our growth, but to signal our confidence in the contract logistics market in the UK.”

As part of DHL’s ongoing efforts to improve its sustainability and reduce the environmental impact of its operations, a number of the vehicles will run on liquefied natural gas.

Region Tees up demand responsive bus pilot

14 August 2019

A demand responsive bus service will be piloted in the Tees Valley in a bid to improve transport links in rural communities across the region.

It will allow passengers to pre-book their public transport via phone, app or website.They will be able to request pick-up and drop-off points within the serviced area, and to destinations including transport hubs and hospitals outside of the area.

The pilot, announced by Tees Valley Mayor, Ben Houchen, and the region’s Combined Authority Cabinet, will cover areas in and around Darlington, Hartlepool, Redcar and Cleveland.

The scheme aims to help residents in more isolated communities access essential services and training and employment opportunities that are being created across Tees Valley.

Procurement is now under way and it is expected the new model will be up and running by the end of 2019 for a minimum of three years. If successful, there is potential to extend the service into other rural and possibly urban areas.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “People in rural areas are frequently left behind as routes are decided by bus companies that need to make a profit.

“We’re driving cash into every part of our transport network, from upgrades to our major train stations, roads, and walking and cycling routes and an airport that’s now in our control – but I can’t nationalise buses. That’s why this Uber-style service is a great answer for residents not already served by other transport means.”

Dennis unveils new hybrid double decker

14 August 2019

Alexander Dennis is expanding the UK’s widest range of low and zero emission buses with the new Enviro400ER Electric Range hybrid double deck bus.

Developed with BAE Systems, the Enviro400ER offers geofenced zero emission capability designed to meet local Ultra Low Emission Zones and zero emissions targets without the need for expensive charging infrastructure and without an impact on daily operational range.

The Enviro400ER can run for up to three miles in electric mode, with the exact distance depending on factors such as travel time and route profile. The vehicle utilises a 32kWh capacity energy storage system, comprising third generation lithium nickel manganese cobalt battery technology, as well as the same components as the latest generation Enviro400H hybrid bus. The battery does not need to be charged externally, avoiding costly infrastructure in depots or at termini.

Arthur Whiteside, Managing Director UK Sales at Alexander Dennis, said, “Our new Electric Range option offers a highly cost-effective way of introducing zero emissions capability with no need to change operational practices.”

UK light commercial vehicle market up in July

05 August 2019

  • UK new van market registrations rise 11.0% in July, with 25,862 models registered.
  • Demand for medium and large vans drives growth, both segments rising by double digits.
  • Year-to-date LCV market stays strong, up 9.0%, as buyers invest in latest, cleanest vehicles.



The UK new light commercial vehicle (LCV) market rose in July, up 11.0%, according to the latest figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). The market has grown in every month of 2019, with 25,862 new models registered in July for use on UK roads as operators were enticed by the range of new models and attractive offers on the market.

Growth in July was driven by demand for medium vans, weighing 2.0-2.5 tonnes, and large vans, weighing 2.5-3.5 tonnes, the segments rising 17.2% and 16.9% respectively. Meanwhile pickups, 4x4s and smaller vans weighing less than 2.0 tonnes all saw declines in the month. In the year-to-date the market is up 9.0% and SMMT’s latest 2019 forecast has been revised up accordingly, to 363,000 units.1

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,

Another month of growth for the new van market is welcome relief for the automotive sector as it faces multiple challenges simultaneously. Buyers continue to be attracted to the latest, cleanest vans which is good news for the manufacturers that have invested significant amounts to create them, but also for the environment and exchequer. Buying cycles do fluctuate, however, and for this performance to continue we need an end to Brexit uncertainty starting with a favourable deal for the industry.

Stobart secures approval for campus expansion

07 August 2019

Eddie Stobart Logistics has had its plans for a new national distribution centre approved by Warrington Borough Council.

The vast 634,910 sq. ft. facility will be built on Barleycastle Lane adjacent to the company’s existing campus, which includes the Eddie Stobart Group head office, training academy and central operations.

Costing £75 million, the development should be completed by the end of 2020.

Alex Laffey, CEO of Eddie Stobart, said, “The National Distribution Centre will deliver real investment and create 480 new jobs and training opportunities for Warrington. Our plans will also see over £6 million invested in the local road network for the benefit of all road users.”