Growth was polarised at the light and heavy ends of the market. Demand for rigid trucks followed overall market growth at 0.4 per cent, but while the 6-16 tonne segment was up by 17.2 per cent, there was an 8.1 per cent fall in rigids over 16 tonnes gross weight.
This represents something of a change on long-term trends, where the tendency has been for operators to relinquish 7.5-tonners in favour of either vans below the LGV threshold of 3.5 tonnes or for heavier rigid trucks.
Tractor units were slightly ahead of market growth, up 0.5 per cent to 3,914, and the three-axle tractor unit remains the most popular type of truck on the British market, taking 37.6 per cent of the total of new truck registrations.
Turning to the fortunes of individual manufacturers, a decline in the fortunes of second-place Scania allowed DAF to take almost one-third of the total new truck market. Volvo and Mercedes-Benz also recorded very strong performances, while in the mid-market MAN fell back to benefit both Iveco and Volvo Group subsidiary Renault Trucks.
Japanese lightweight specialist Isuzu fell back marginally, while the fortunes of rival Fuso, part of the Daimler empire, improved by a third.
Political upsets aside, the new truck market in 2017 is expected to track that of 2016’s very closely. Operators are expected to continue to invest in Euro 6 trucks which now offer proven benefits of improved fuel economy as well as environmental and safety factors over earlier models, with no negative impact on reliability.