New HGV registrations increased by almost 10% last year, driven by the sale of artics according to SMMT figures.
The first full year of open trading since the Covid-19 pandemic saw robust demand from the haulage, construction and distribution sectors, with deliveries helped by easing supply chain and logistics disruptions.
The market remained 16.1% below 2019, but a strong Q3 performance and a 14.4% year-on-growth in Q4 resulted in an overall 9.6% increase in the year, with 40,716 units registered.
Articulated truck deliveries were up 21.9% to 19,414 units and rigids increased by 0.3% to 21,302 units.
The SMMT said tractors remained by far the most popular segment, rising by 21.7% to 19,076 units, followed by box vans, which grew 0.2% to 4,062 units.
Demand for curtain-sided lorries was also up, by 5.9%, but the figures showed there were declines in registrations of tipper (-0.8%), dropsides (-3.1%) and refuse vehicles (-14.8%).
The vehicle manufacturer body said that although demand for the latest lower and zero emission trucks was growing, operators needed long-term certainty to aid their purchase investments.
It has called for a clear plan for public recharging or refuelling infrastructure that was suited to HGV requirements and would equip the sector with greater confidence.
Mike Hawes, SMMT CEO, said: “Another year of growth in HGV registrations marked by a strong second half performance shows that operators have an increasing appetite to invest, with deliveries enabled by the easing of supply and logistics disruptions.
“As manufacturers deliver more zero emission vehicles to market, there must be policy certainty and infrastructure assurance to inspire further fleet renewal."
DAF Trucks' UK MD Laurence Drake echoed Hawes'comments and called on the UK government to provide more help to accelerate the transition to zero emissions vehicles.
DAF Trucks was again the UK market leader in 2022 with a record 32.1% share of truck sales above 6.0 tonnes GVW. It saw a 13.2% growth in registrations to 13,068 vehicles buoyed by the success of its New Generation Range from late 2021. While the SMMT data does not differentiate between diesel and electric registrations, DAF said "uptake of electric trucks is low".
“While there are a number of valuable government initiatives, such as the Battery Electric Truck Trial and the planned Zero Emission Road Freight Trial, both designed to help encourage operators to start the transition, more needs to be done,“ said Drake. “Compared to other countries, where incentives can cover as much as 80% of the cost difference between diesel and battery electric trucks, the UK Battery Electric Truck Grant is modest and, with the current high wholesale electricity costs, electric trucks simply can’t compete against today’s most efficient diesels in terms of total cost of ownership.
“DAF Trucks is investing heavily in electric trucks, DAF dealers are investing in the tools, training and facilities to support those trucks and many DAF customers are keen. However, they need support to help the transition. The cost of moving to electric is not just about the truck, it’s also about the charging infrastructure and the need to adapt operations and schedules. If the industry is to meet the end-of-sale dates for non-zero emission vehicles, there needs to be more financial support for early adopters to really kick-start the use of electric trucks in the UK.”