Registrations of buses, coaches and HGVs all plummeted in the second quarter, new figures reveal.
Data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) showed new bus and coach registrations fell 77.1 per cent, while registrations of heavy good vehicles fell 73.4 per cent.
Single-deck bus registrations saw the biggest decline, down 93.3 per cent to just 51 vehicles, as double-deck bus demand also fell substantially, down 62.7 per cent.
Meanwhile, demand for minibuses fell 57.6 per cent to just over 200 vehicles, albeit still showing growth in the year to date of 21.5 per cent following a buoyant first quarter.
Overall, figures for the first six months show a decrease in demand of more than a third (-34.6 per cent) to 1,731 units. Registrations of single-decks and double-decks fell significantly, dropping by 67.5 per cent and -61.7 per cent respectively.
The UK’s new heavy goods vehicle market fell 73.4 per cent, with 4,151 units registered.
Registrations of rigid trucks fell 72.6 per cent, with both the >6-16T and >16T segments experiencing similar sharp declines.
Elsewhere, demand for articulated heavy trucks fell by 74.7 per cent to 1,525 units. While tractors continued to make up the majority of HGV registrations with a 35.9 per cent market share, all segments saw demand halved or worse.
In the year-to-date, the market is now some 51.4 per cent lower than the same period in 2019, with 14,120 fewer vehicles registered.
The SMMT said the fall in bus and coach registrations was down to a complete standstill of the use of public transport from mid-March, while for HGVs, the decline was driven by coronavirus but also a particularly strong Q2 in 2019 when the introduction of smart tachographs saw a large uptick in orders.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: ‘The pandemic has had a devastating effect on the UK bus and coach market. We urgently need the government investment announced earlier this year to be released to get the sector moving and the latest low emissions buses on the road to replace the most polluting older vehicles.
‘Longer term, we need a national bus strategy to help inject confidence into both the sector and, importantly, the travelling public.’
Commenting on the HGV data, Hawes 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.’
Mike Hawes will be appearing on Car Dealer Live on Wednesday August 19 at 12pm
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