Truck registrations over 6 tonnes fell 13.1% to 8,557 in Q3 2019 as the market “rebalanced” after higher than usual sales in H1, according to the SMMT.

However 3-axle tractor units remained popular, with sales down only 2.5% to 3,623. The big losers were rigid trucks below 16 tonnes, with volumes down 28.5% to just 1,507.

H1 sales were artificially inflated as buyers sought to avoid proposed import duties ahead of the original Brexit deadline of March 31 and beat the June deadline for the requirement to fit ‘smart’ tachographs to new trucks.

In the first nine months of 2019, overall sales of tractor units were still up 22.4% to 15,651, with rigids up 16.2% to 20,370. In 2018 the market for artics totalled 19,287 (88% of which were 3-axles) while 23,812 rigids were sold last year.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “Given the rush to register new trucks before the introduction of new regulations in June, the slowdown in Q3 was anticipated, and we expect to see the market rebalance in the final part of the year.”