Northern Ireland only UK country to record falling HGV sales in 2023

Sales of new DAF Trucks jumped by 24 per cent in the first quarter, making it the UK's best-selling HGV in 2023.
Sales of new DAF Trucks jumped by 24 per cent in the first quarter, making it the UK's best-selling HGV in 2023.

NORTHERN Ireland was the only country in the UK to record a fall in the number of new heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) sold during the first quarter.

Data compiled by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show 325 new HGVs were registered here in the first three months of 2023, compared to 328 in the same period in 2022.

While that was just a difference of 0.9 per cent, sales of HGVs in England, Scotland Wales increased significantly in the first quarter.

HGV sales in England rose by 1,476 (17.2 per cent) to 10,049, while a 22.9 per cent increase in Wales to 354 meant it overtook Northern Ireland.

Overall, UK-wide registrations rose by 17.1 per cent.

The SMMT said it was the fourth consecutive quarter of growth, and was driven by high demand from the haulage, construction and distribution sectors.

The trade body also said the easing of long-term global supply chain disruptions means the market is now just -2.9 per cent below the first quarter (Q1) of 2019.

DAF Trucks were the biggest seller, with 3,632 sold in Q1 2023, up 24.4 per cent on the same quarter last year.

Scania (2,044) and Mercedes (1,445) also recorded significant increases, while Volvo sales (1,593) dropped by 1 per cent.

Separate data published by the SMMT on Wednesday showed a sharp drop in the number of new buses and coaches registered in Northern Ireland in Q1 2023.

Just 19 were recorded by the SMMT, down by almost 60 per cent on the 47 sold in the same quarter last year.

Scotland was the only country to record an increase, with the UK-wide figure of 968, down 0.6 per cent on Q1 2022.

SMMT chief executive, Mike Hawes said the latest data broadly reflected the HGV sector’s recovery from pandemic and supply chain shocks 

“For truck fleet renewal to drive UK economic growth and decarbonisation in the long term, however, the zero emission HGV market must gather speed.”

He said operators need greater certainty that the UK is serious about becoming a globally competitive location for zero emission logistics.

“With an abundance of new electric and hydrogen truck models now ready to join UK roads, a plan is urgently needed to deliver HGV-dedicated public infrastructure, along with incentives for net zero vehicle and depot investments that contend with the world’s major decarbonising nations,” he said.            

The SMMT said the bus and coach sector “remains a challenge”.

He said: “With supply disruptions still affecting minibus deliveries, the market is showing signs of recovery – particularly with the boost in single and double decker vehicle uptake.”