CEO Update

HGV market grows but bus and coach registrations fall

17 February 2023 #CEO Update

In the first full year of open trading following the pandemic, recovery continued in the heavy goods vehicle (HGV) sector as registrations grew by 9.6% to just over 40,000 units in 2022. Despite the market remaining behind pre-pandemic levels, the latter half of the year posted strong growth as persistent supply chain issues began to ease.

With so much of our economy dependent on HGVs this growth is good news indeed, and to keep up with the pace of decarbonised fleet renewal we need operator investment to continue. That requires long-term certainty – economic certainty but also in the practical application of new, zero emission technologies.

All manufacturers are investing in zero emission HGVs but there is currently no single technology to cater for all use cases. Therefore, a strategy must be delivered to facilitate investment in a national network of public recharging and refuelling infrastructure suited to the specific requirements of each of these vital vehicles.

The UK’s bus market, meanwhile, is facing its own unique challenges as passenger numbers remain subdued following the pandemic, with the impact on operator confidence resulting in the worst ever annual performance for registrations. Data for 2022, out this week, shows a -1.6% decline in the number of new buses joining the roads. If we are to eliminate emissions and keep society – and the economy – on the move, encouraging investment in these latest, clean energy vehicles is also essential.

Incentives to get ridership levels back on track such as ‘Get Around for £2’ provide an opportunity, but longer-term commitments are also needed to create favourable conditions which encourage operator investment and ultimately allow the delivery of affordable zero emission mass mobility for all. The Zero Emission Bus Regional Area scheme has already shown its value, stimulating orders, but funding must be accelerated to ensure all regions across the UK can benefit.

The importance of commercial vehicles to the UK’s net zero transition will be a key agenda item at SMMT Electrified in March. As well as an expert panel dedicated to overcoming the challenge of decarbonising heavy duty vehicles, we’ll hear from Carlos Rodrigues, Managing Director of Renault Trucks UK and Ireland, who has just this week been announced as a keynote speaker. Also joining our influential line up of speakers are Nick Collins, Executive Director, Vehicle Programmes at Jaguar Land Rover and Louise Haigh MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, making this a not-to-be-missed event. For more information and to book your place, please contact

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