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Growing business confidence may turn around flagging truck sales, says NFDA

So said the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), following the publication yesterday of new Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) commercial vehicle registration figures.

According to the SMMT, total commercial vehicle registrations dipped 4.2% in April to 23,338; with the rolling year up 13.0% to 334,808.

Van demand in April 2014 remained stable with 20,620 registrations, down just 0.6% on April 2013, maintaining the year-to-date margin of +12.2%. As are result, the SMMT revised its van forecast to 301,320, a rise of 11.2% on 2013.

Truck registrations continue to feel the effects of the emissions standard changes, with volumes down 24.9% in the month. The rolling year to April, however, remained up 22.3%.

‘It is disappointing to see that the commercial vehicle market declined -4.2% this month following last month’s new 14-plate change,’ said Sue Robinson, director of the NFDA, which represents commercial vehicle and franchised car retailers across the UK.

Commenting on the van sales, Robinson said the year-to-date figure showed a more positive growth of 12.2%. In April the only sector to show any noticeable decline was the sub 2 tonne circa car-derived-vans.

It added that dealers suggested that much of the short-fall was blamed on manufacturer bonus incentive periods ending at the end of March, hence many of them pre-registered a limited number of small vans to maximise their bonus incentives.

Robinson continued: ‘Sales of heavy trucks saw a significant decline of -24.9%, however the rolling year remained up 22.3%. We had expected by now that the Euro 5 pre-registered trucks in December 2013 would have started to wash through by the second quarter of 2014, especially as the decline in March was only -16.5.

‘The dip in April registrations mostly came from the heavy sector with 6t – 16t rigid chassis which were down -41.3% and three-axled artics at -33%.

‘The NFDA hope the confidence in the economy and the growth in both employed and self-employed tradesmen will return the van market to growth over the coming months.’

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Written by Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.

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