Bus and coach registrations – April 2004

10 May 2004 #SMMT News

After a modest year on year rise in March, bus and coach volumes fell by 15 per cent in April to 1,063 units. The first four months of 2004 saw a 9.1 per cent drop on figures from the same period in 2003.

The growth in coach volumes, although modest, but may prove to be durable over the year ahead. However, a decline in bus registrations is expected during 2004.

The rolling year total for all buses and coaches to April was 13,044 registrations. This was 417 units or 3.1 per cent down on the 2003 year end total. If this trend continues over the course of the year the annual total may fall to about 12,000 – 12,500 registrations by December.

The data highlights a variety of trends by the various sectors of the new bus and coach market. Mini buses to 3.5t gvw had a big influence on overall market volumes and growth. In recent years they took 50 to 60 per cent of the total and 2003 was a particularly strong year – as it was for most other LCVs. However, the first four months of 2004 has already seen the rolling year total down six per cent on the total for 2003. The reasons behind the change are not easy to identify since these vehicles are used in a variety of applications in private and public community transport. These are the least likely vehicles to be in regular service and on scheduled fare-paying routes.

Over the year to April bus registrations over 8.5 tonnes remain significantly down on the same period in 2003. The decline is more marked for heavier single and double deck buses. Coaches over 16t gvw continue to recover, with the rolling year to April reporting six per cent growth. The immediate months ahead are a relatively quiet period in the annual coach registration calendar.

This is issue four of a new press release, an aid to understanding the new bus and coach markets.


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