Component shortages hold back UK truck sales

We might be seeing a rush on new trucks in Australia in 2022, however, things aren’t quite so rosy for our cousins in the UK.

New data released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) shows UK heavy goods vehicle (HGV) registrations declined by -2.3% to 9,837 registrations in the first quarter of 2022.

The decline saw 9,837 units registered in Q1, down 227 on a volatile first quarter in 2021, with the sector still some distance from a full recovery from the pandemic at -17.1% below Q1 2019.

But it’s not that the demand for new trucks isn’t there.

The SMMT says shortages of semiconductors and raw materials, including steel and aluminium, have restricted vehicle deliveries to fleet operators.

Registrations of rigid trucks fell by -10.1% to 4,975, accounting for just over half (50.6%) of the market, while those of articulated trucks rose by 7.4% to 4,862 units.

There was increased demand for tractors (or prime movers in our talk), the largest segment by volume, up 8.3% and comprising 49.1% of the market.

However, all other segments saw decline, including box vans (-13.7%), tippers (-16.0%), curtain-sided trucks (-12.4%) and refuse disposal vehicles (-31.3%).

“Despite the myriad challenges facing the heavy goods vehicle sector, manufacturers have remained resilient, striving to fulfil order books as quickly as possible amid robust demand for the latest technology trucks.” – Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive.

“Despite the market’s post-pandemic recovery continuing to be frustrated by supply chain shortages and disruptions, HGV operators considering their next fleet investments are encouraged to move early to secure the new vehicles that will meet their business needs.

“The sector continues to play a crucial role in the UK economy and faces the same decarbonisation challenges as the rest of road transport.”