The UK’s bus and coach output is on the pathway to recovery while HGVs continue to slump because of Covid-induced supply chain issues.
According to quarterly data released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the UK new bus and coach market grew by 45.2 per cent following the end of all UK restrictions and a consequent increase in bus journeys.
Rising 131.9 per cent, single-deck buses saw the biggest increase while demand for double-deckers rose by 8.4 per cent to 116 units. Minibuses accounted for two thirds of all registrations, rising 36.8 per cent to 647 units sold.
“The return to growth of the bus and coach sector, which is critical for the UK’s Net Zero goals and levelling up agenda, is very welcome,” commented SMMT’s chief executive Mike Hawes. “It is, however, still some way short of a recovery.”
Even though registrations increased on a yearly basis, numbers are still well below pre-pandemic levels, with bus registrations 44.4 per cent down compared with a pre-Covid five-year average.
Buses and coaches are not the only vehicles whose output continues to be below pre-pandemic levels, as HGV registrations declined by 2.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2022.
SMMT data reported lorry output decreased in the first quarter of 2022 by 2.3 per cent to 9,837 vehicles registered compared, remaining 17.1 per cent below 2019 levels.
While demand continues to be robust, Covid-induced shortages of semiconductors and raw materials hinder deliveries.
“Despite the market’s post-pandemic recovery continuing to be frustrated by supply chain shortages and disruptions, HGV operators considering their next fleet investments are encouraged to move early to secure the new vehicles that will meet their business needs,” Hawes added.
“The sector continues to play a crucial role in the UK economy and faces the same decarbonisation challenges as the rest of road transport.”