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The UK’s new heavy goods vehicle (HGV) market fell by 73.4% in the second quarter of 2020, with 4,151 units registered, according to figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

While the bulk of the decline was driven by coronavirus lockdown measures, a strong Q2 in 2019 – boosted by the the introduction of smart tachographs which saw a large uptick in orders – contributed to this year’s decline.

Registrations of rigid trucks fell by 72.6%, with both the 6-16T and 16T and above segments experiencing similar sharp declines. The fall in 6T-16T segment was 69.2% to 1,031, whilst the decline in 16T and above was 74.4% to 1,595.

Registrations for two-axle artics saw a fall of 72% in the quarter, with three-axle artic registrations falling by almost three quarters to 1,409.

Elsewhere, demand for articulated heavy trucks fell by 4.7% to 1,525 units. While tractors continued to make up the majority of HGV registrations with a 35.9% market share, all segments saw demand halved or worse.

In the year to date, the market is now 51.4% lower than the same period in 2019, with 14,120 fewer vehicles registered.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, “Such a sharp decrease in heavy commercial vehicle registrations is deeply concerning given the sector’s critical role in keeping the country moving.

“While it is important to be mindful of the pronounced boost the introduction of new technologies had on last year’s figures, 2020 has been unprecedented.

“Given the current economic uncertainties, restoring operator confidence will be crucial in driving the UK’s recovery but also ensuring it is a green recovery, as getting more of the latest high-tech, low emission vehicles onto our roads is key to addressing environmental concerns.”