New HGV registrations in the UK increased by 13% in 2021
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UK new HGV registrations increased to 37,163 (+12.9%) as the market gains ground after being locked down in 2020, according to the latest figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. The transport industry is calling for a clear plan to drive the transition to zero-emission vehicles and maintain fleet operator confidence.
New heavy goods vehicle (HGV) registrations rose by 12.9% year-on-year in 2021, according to new figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
Growth in key industry sectors such as construction saw demand outstrip supply, with truck registrations surging from a locked-down 2020 fall of -32.2%.
However, the global semiconductor shortage, as well as supply constraints affecting steel and aluminium, impacted availability, resulting in 7,571 fewer (-16.9%) HGV units registered compared with the pre-pandemic average.
Some 37,163 units were registered last year, 57.1% of which were rigids, while 42.9% were articulated trucks, in line with market splits seen in previous years, though both segments grew with 2,239 more rigids (+11.8%) and 2,006 more artics (+14.4%) registered than 2020.
Tractor units were the most popular type of HGV, with 15,679 units (+16.0%) representing a market share of 42.1%, while refuse trucks increased by 2.0% to 2,067 units.
Conversely, box van registrations fell slightly, by -1.2% to 4,054 units, while curtain-sided lorries declined by -6.3% to 2,452 units.
Maintaining and growing demand will be vital to fleet renewal – getting more of the latest, greenest trucks on the road – but operators need long-term certainty to make investment decisions, SMMT adds.
New non-zero emission HGV sales will end in 2040 – just five years after the end of sale date for non-zero emission new cars and vans.
While the passenger car market is largely focused on one technology – electric – to meet driver needs, with a massive choice of models already available, there is no single zero-emission technology appropriate for all HGV use cases.
Furthermore, there is no plan to create the necessary public recharging or refuelling infrastructure specifically for HGVs and drivers to enable the transition. As a result, fossil fuel vehicles still accounted for 99.8% of HGVs in use in 2020, a proportion last seen in the car park in 2007.
“With so much of our economy dependant on HGVs, the market’s return to growth is good news as getting more of the latest, high tech and low emission trucks onto the roads is critical to both air quality and climate change improvements,” said Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, commenting on the latest figures.