The organisation’s data shows that commercial vehicle registrations rose 5% in February to 11,336 units, with the year-to-date figure up 5.4% at 30,267.
Van registrations grew 11.8% to 9,149 in the month, continuing the positive 2013 performance at 25,198 units, up 11.9%.
However, truck registrations fell 16.3%, to 2,187 units in the month and dipped 18.2% for the year so far at 5,069 units.
‘The commercial vehicle industry’s good start to 2013 continued into February, rising 5% as the van market grew 11.8% on last year, but it’s a complex picture,’ said Nigel Base, SMMT commercial vehicle manager.
‘The truck market declined 16%, perhaps as owners and operators adjust buying decisions ahead of key landmarks in the year – this month’s Budget, the CV Show in April and introduction of Euro 6 legislation at the end of the year.’
Sue Robinson, director of the National Franchised Dealers Association, which represents commercial vehicle and franchised car retailers across the UK, added: ‘The poor truck sales in February may indicate that businesses still feel a sense of uncertainly about the economy and many businesses hold little hope in what this month’s Budget will have to offer them. The introduction of Euro 6 legislation at the end of the year was hoping to boost sales of the last few Euro 5-engined trucks available and this may still happen later this year but there is no evidence of this so far in 2013.’
She continued: ‘Van sales continue to improve, suggesting confidence in the service industries who are one of the main procurers of this type of vehicle. Until recently many businesses have put off buying a new vehicle due to economic conditions but can no longer delay as their vehicle ages with consequent effect on repair and maintenance costs. The market is also being supported by strong manufacturer deals and offers that are encouraging businesses to buy.’