Bus and coach market dips in 2013

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2013 is another difficult year for manufacturers and dealers as recessionary conditions continue to bite

Despite predictions that the bus and coach sector might be more buoyant in 2013 as operators bought ahead of the introduction of Euro 6, the market for purpose-built vehicles was actually down 3.3% according to figures released by the SMMT (Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders)

“The bus and coach sector had a tough year in 2013 competing against the Olympics-inflated registrations of 2012, so the market inevitably struggled,” said SMMT Chief Executive, Mike Hawes. “However we have seen encouraging signs of growth over the last five months as operators look to invest in new fuel efficient, cleaner vehicles. Given the year-end performance, we expect a steady 2014.”

Registrations in the purpose-built sector above 8.5t totalled 3,685 says the SMMT. That compares with 3,811 in 2013. Alexander Dennis, Volvo and Optare all saw their share drop, down 13.5%, 21.62% and 13.39% respectively. There was a steady performance from Scania matching its 2012 registrations of 279.

Wrightbus had a very good year boosted by New Bus for London. Its 2013 total was 445, up 160.23% from 171 in 2012. The Ballymena manufacturer explained last November that it expected total build for the year 2013/14 including body on other manufacturers’ chassis to be around 1,100 buses.

It was also a good year for Van Hool, which saw its registrations grow 32.81% from 64 to 85. MAN was up 175% from 16 to 44 while Setra’s total of 44, up from 10, represented a rise of 340%. King Long also grew share from 21 to 30 registrations.

While purpose-built bus at 2,842 registrations were down overall at 8.6%, there was better news for coaches above 3.5t – a 20.4% rise to 843. The converted vehicle sector saw a fall by 4.9% to 7,708 units.