Rollercoaster registrations continue as CV Show returns

19 May 2022 #Uncategorised

Buses and coaches continue to have something of a rollercoaster ride in registration numbers.

Ahead of the Commercial Vehicle Show starting at the NEC next Tuesday, SMMT published its first quarter registration figures for bus, coach and heavy goods vehicles this week, painting a mixed picture.

Figures rose 45.2% compared with the first quarter of last year, 8.4% up for double-deck, 36.8% for single-deck and a whopping 131.9% for minibus.

In bald figures, that means Q1 2022 saw a rise from 671 units in 2021 to 974 of these fine working vehicles joining the roads.

However – and I’m sorry for the ‘however’ – while it’s a welcome upswing, it is far cry from a full-blown recovery. The Q1 average for bus and coach registrations from 2015 to 2019 is almost twice as high as this first quarter, at 1,751.

With hundreds of millions invested in zero-emission options by manufacturers, we need more certainty on a reasonable end-of-sale date. This hinges on confidence in infrastructure and access to more funding and incentives that are finally being released from the Bus Back Better Fund.

But what of HGVs? If we compare this year’s first quarter of 9,837 vehicles to the pre-pandemic 2019 total of 11,859, registrations are also still down, by -17.1%.

Unlike year-on-year changes for bus and coach, the HGV sector is also  -2.3% down on 2021. One positive number in here is on artics, which are up – particularly two-axle – but supply chain issues are still hampering the market.

A big silver lining is that demand is good, with manufacturers doing their level best to supply customers in a difficult environment.

I mentioned the CV Show a little last week, but if you haven’t yet looked, the show preview is here, and the show guide is here. The event will be another great opportunity for the commercial vehicle sector to meet and discuss the myriad challenges we face at present and in future. We at SMMT will have our stand as usual (5E60) with experts in policy, technical and data on-hand, as well as visitors including senior transport officials and parliamentarians.

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