The UK new bus and coach market fell by 26.4% in the third quarter of the year, with 1,340 vehicles registered, according to figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) on 15 November. The performance marked the 11th consecutive quarterly decline for the sector, as a combination of weak business confidence, confusion over clean air zones, modal shift and tight budgets within local authorities affected order books.
In the third quarter, demand across all body styles declined by double digits, with single-decks experiencing the most significant fall in registrations, down 38.1% to 280 units. Meanwhile, the market for new minibuses fell 24.7%, as did demand for double-decks, down 12.2% in the quarter.
Performance over the year-to-date is down too, with registrations dropping 29.4% to fewer than 4,000 units. Registrations of minibuses and double-decks have fallen significantly, reducing by 42.8% and 16.8% respectively. At the same time, single-decks recorded a 10.1% decrease with 1,459 registered in the first nine months.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “An 11th consecutive quarterly decline for the UK bus and coach market is a serious concern. To stem further losses and get more of the latest, low emission vehicles on our roads, we need the right conditions, including appropriate funding for local authorities, to ensure operators continue to invest in their fleets. This will not only help improve air quality in urban areas but also provide cleaner transport solutions to many consumers.”