The UK’s new bus and coach market fell in every quarter of 2017, according to figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Following a period of strong growth in 2015 and 2016, last year saw registrations decline by 12.7% to 7,666.
Double-deck demand saw the biggest fall across the year, declining 17.1% with 1,598 units registered. Single-decks and minibuses also experienced declines, down 8.2% and 13.2% respectively.
Between October and December, 1,688 new buses and coaches were registered, falling 15.9%. Single-deck and double-deck registrations both saw double-digit declines in the fourth quarter, by 20.7% and 27.6% respectively. Meanwhile, demand for minibuses was down 5.7%.
Chief Executive, Mike Hawes, SMMT said, “Following strong market performance in the previous two years and the highly cyclical nature of fleet purchasing in this sector, it’s no surprise to see orders fall in 2017. However, declining business confidence undoubtedly played a part. To encourage future long-term investment, operators must have economic and regulatory certainty. Government’s proposed closure of the Euro V legislation loophole is overdue and must be implemented urgently if we are to get more of the latest low emission Euro VI vehicles onto our roads and improve air quality in our towns and cities.”
As these figures landed, it was announced Wrightbus is consulting on a number of redundancies following what it describes as challenging market conditions (see story on page 7, this issue).