Uplift after three years of decline

Full year coach and bus registration results show three years of decline, but 2019’s fourth quarter shows some positive signs 

There was an 18.8% fall in new bus and coach registrations in 2019, according to the latest statistics from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The latest figure showed annual registrations falling for a third consecutive year to 5,874 units. The year finished on a positive note, however, as 18.5% growth in the fourth quarter brought an end to 11 straight quarters of decline. Growth in the final segment of the year was driven by minibus registrations, which were up 49% to 1,311 units, while the market for single-deck and double-deck buses was down 13% and 27.8% respectively during the period.

In the full year, demand across all body styles declined in double figures, with minibuses falling the most with a 22.7% drop in registrations. Single-deck and double-deck registrations were down 10.7% and 19.5% respectively. A combination of weak business confidence, declining passenger numbers and confusion over clean air zones depressed demand were blamed for this fall.

Nigel Base, SMMT Commercial Vehicle Manager, said: “A third straight year of decline for the bus and coach sector is worrying. While the market is cyclical, there’s no doubt that operators face many challenges in the current volatile climate. While the government’s announcement of a National Bus Strategy is welcome, now we need to see the implementation of a plan that will encourage passengers on to local buses, stimulate fleet renewal and get more of the latest, lowest emission buses and coaches on to local roads.”

According to the figures, there were 1,193 Mercedes-Benz’s registered last year (2018: 1,247); ADLs numbered 981 (2018: 1,170); Volvo 479 (2018: 482); Scania 319 (2018: 187); Wrightbus 283 (2018: 280); Iveco 105 (2018: 103); Yutong 83 (2018: 117); VDL 63 (2018: 64); Volkswagen 62 (2018: 33); Irizar 61 (2018: 78); Temsa 36 (2018: 38); Van Hool 36 (2018: 48); Neoplan 30 (2018: 29); Indcar 27 (2018: 6); MAN 19 (2018: 63); Optare 16 (2018: 101); Beulas 12 (2018: 0); King Long 9 (2018: 1) and Setra 9 (2018: 2).

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