HGVs Registrations SMMT News

HGV growth stabilises while zero emission market share rises

16 May 2024 #HGVs #Registrations #SMMT News
  • UK new heavy vehicle market falls slightly following bumper two years, down -3.9%.
  • Rigid HGV uptake rises 8.4% but growth offset by -16.5% decline in articulated trucks following fulfilment of pent-up demand.
  • BEV uptake rises 56.3% to reach 0.5% share of market, but action on incentives and infrastructure vital for market development.



New heavy goods vehicle (HGV) registrations fell for the first time in two years, with a -3.9% decline in Q1 2024, according to the latest figures published today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Operators still registered 11,068 new HGVs between January and March, just 449 fewer units than the same period in 2023, which was the strongest start to a year since the pandemic.1

Growth was recorded in rigid HGVs, with overall volumes rising 8.4% year on year to 6,327 units, the largest proportional growth seen in the six to sixteen tonnes weight category, compared with Q1 last year. Conversely, uptake of articulated HGVs declined by -16.5% year on year to 4,741 units. As a result, the overall market shifted from being split roughly equally between the two vehicle types, to rigids taking almost six in 10 new registrations – representing a normalisation in the market following a fulfilment of pent-up demand over the past 12 months.

Demand for tractor units, the largest sector of the market, fell -16.7%, while tipper uptake also declined, by -6.3%. However, strong growth was recorded in curtainsiders (up 23.1%), flat lorries (21.6%) and box vans (20.6%). Uptake across the country was also variable, with the South West recording proportionally the largest growth in the UK, with 994 new HGVs entering service, up 11.8% on last year. East Anglia recorded the largest decline, down -26.4% to 457 units. The South East remained, by a considerable margin, the biggest investor in new heavy vehicles, with 2,351 reaching the road despite a -2.7% decline – more than a fifth of all new registrations.

With a robust choice of models, ZEV uptake reached 0.5% of overall registrations, up from 0.3% in the same quarter last year – still low in comparison with the car and van markets, although an improvement of 56.3% in volume terms on last year. Growth, however, remains constricted due to a lack of operator confidence not helped by a grant system – introduced almost a decade ago – which is extraordinarily lengthy and which means that fewer than half of all ZEV models available are currently eligible.

The UK also has a dearth of dedicated HGV charging points, with just one truck-specific charging point in the UK, at the M61 southbound service station, preventing longer distance operators from going green.2

Reforming the grant and implementing a national infrastructure plan would help more businesses switch to zero emission HGVs suitable for a wide range of business needs, and help slash around 19 million tonnes of CO2 emissions a year.3

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,

The truck sector currently stands steady, with just a small decline in uptake compared with a very strong quarter last year. Following two solid years of market growth, however, more action is needed to sustain green fleet renewal to decarbonise UK road transport. Zero emission truck uptake remains a fractional part of the market but, with just over a decade until the first phase of the end of sale of fossil fuel HGVs, operators need inspirational incentives and infrastructure provision to accelerate their investments.

Notes to editors

1 Q1 2019: 11,859 units.
2 360kW charger and elongated HGV bays located at southbound Rivington Services on the M61.

3 Based on replacing all vehicles in the UK HGV fleet with zero emission vehicles – CO2 emissions from 2022 UK HGV fleet – National Statistics

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