The UK was Scania’s biggest market worldwide in 2016, the first time this country has topped the Swedish truck builder’s sales charts, according to Mathias Carlbaum, Scania’s executive vice president for commercial operations.

Briefing journalists ahead of the release of Scania’s 2016 results, Carlbaum said Scania’s sales across Europe were 14% up last year, outperforming the company’s overall sales growth of 6%.

The Next Generation R-series and S-series tractor units, launched in August last year, have been well received and are said to be 5% more fuel efficient than the previous generation. Carlbaum said Scania had reduced fuel consumption by 1% every year for the past 20 years, and predicted “it will continue to do so for the next 20 years”.

Scania (GB) MD Claes Jacobsson said the company had a “fabulous year” in the UK in 2016 and he was looking forward to an “exciting” 2017. “We will continue the transition towards the Next Generation Scania although we will continue marketing our current range throughout the year,” he said.

Andrew Jamieson, Scania (GB) new trucks sales director, said the UK market for trucks over 16t in 2016 was the second biggest ever behind 2013, pushing 2015 into third place in terms of sales volumes.

According to SMMT data, sales of rigid trucks over 16t were up 14.5% last year while sales of tractor units fell 7.5%, meaning a total of 36,358 trucks over 16t were registered in 2016.

“That was way better than we expected,” said Jamieson. “Scania took 20% of the market in 2016, registering a record 7,283 vehicles, and is market leader in 3-axle tractors and the construction sector. We are still seeing a very strong market - our December order intake was exceptional and January too has been beyond expectations.”

This was achieved largely with the current generation of vehicles, as availability of Next Generation trucks is still low and only 26 are on the road with UK fleets. Over 500 are however on order by UK operators.

“We have a long way to go with further new products to be added to the range, and it will be an interesting period for us,” Jamieson said. “There will be plenty of new opportunities too as our philosophy of working closer with the customer to tailor solutions creates benefits in total operating economy.”