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May CV market climbs to highest level since 1989

10 June 2002 #HGVs #Registrations #SMMT News

May CV market climbs to highest level since 1989

  • CV registrations in May up 7.9 per cent, YTD figures up 4.0 per cent
  • Light CV registrations lead growth, up 11.8 per cent
  • Truck registrations fell 9.5 per cent
  • Bus and coach registrations climb 12.3 per cent

Total CV registrations in May up 7.9 per cent

The CV market rose by more than 2,000 or 7.9 per cent over last May’s total

of 27,314 units. This is the best May performance since 1989 and the fourth

month’s growth in the first five months of 2002.

CV registrations over the first five months of 2002 are up 4.0 per cent to

132,789 units. This has taken the 12 month moving annual total to 318,461 units,

5.8 per cent ahead of the level a year ago and well up on the 2001 full year

total of 313,411 units. The SMMT now expects that the 2002 full year total will

be between 305,000 and 315,000.

‘May CV registrations were strong, reflecting in particular the buoyant LCV

market and significant bus and coach registrations. CV registrations are a good

guide to the UK economy and we’re pleased to report a healthy performance. We

can only hope that England’s World Cup squad continue to emulate this success!’

said SMMT chief executive Christopher Macgowan.

May registrations were up on expectations and followed very encouraging sales

earlier in the year. Performance in the van markets, particularly in the heavier

van ranges (2.6-3.5 GVW), the 4×4 utilities sector, pick-ups and micro-vans

was clearly very good. Bus and coach registrations have picked up this year

but May marked particularly good registrations for fare-stage PSVs. Truck registrations

dipped again in May, but overall the picture is still impressive.

If consumer spending slows, following widely predicted interest rate rises,

the CV market is likely to follow suit. The continued weak performance in the

manufacturing sector may contribute to a slow down too. However, economic news

has so far been largely positively and we could now see the full year 2002 market

finish at a very similar level to last year’s 313,411 units.

Light commercial vehicle registrations up 11.8 per cent

LCV registrations rose to 22,811 units, an increase of 2,400 units, in May.

The main growth came from the 2.6 to 3.5 tonne GVW sector, with registrations

up 21.4 per cent. However, 4×4 utilities and car type pick-ups registrations

showed equally impressive growth rates, up 20.8 and 15.3 per cent respectively.

New truck registrations down 9.5 per cent

The UK’s new truck market has slipped in every month since February this year.

However, in historical context the market remains healthy, with a 12 month moving

annual total around the 54,500 mark. But the SMMT thinks registrations will

continue to slow though this year ending at around 51,500 units.

The truck market across Europe cooled in 2002, but in the UK there have been

pockets of growth. Two-axle rigids at 3.5 to 7.4 tonnes and 12 to 15 tonnes

and the three-axle rigid registrations all showed impressive growth in May.

Over the first five months of 2002 though, registration growth has been strongest

for two-axle rigids in the 3.5 to 7.4 tonne and 7.5 to 12 tonne sectors and

in the four-axle sector. Artic registrations have seen most of the slow-down

in the truck market.

As truck registrations lag between three and five months behind orders, registrations

in May represent sales made in January through March.

Bus and coach registrations up 12.3 per cent in May

Registrations climbed to 394 units in May – the highest level since 1997. Volumes

over the first five months of the year have risen by 9.6 per cent to 1,855 units,

having fallen in the same period of 2001 by more than a fifth.

Operators who run both rail and bus services dominate the bus market. Recently,

with few exceptions, these companies have concentrated their investment on rail

and spent little on buses. This is despite the fact that buses carry many more

passengers than trains and so have a greater potential to cut road traffic congestion.

Overall, bus transport and thus investment is heavily influenced by government

transport policy and hopefully prospects may continue to improve.

The coach market is more closely linked to tourism and certainly suffered from

the combined effects of the foot-and-mouth epidemic and Al Queda. With at least

foot-and-mouth eradicated, tourism is picking up and the coach market should


The bus and coach market is now forecast to climb to 3,900 units in 2002 –

3.5 per cent, or over 130 units ahead of the 2001 tally.


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