Tyre manufacturers ready for CV Show between 2016 growth and 2017 flux

Birmingham NEC event (25-27 April) has become an important fixture for the tyre sector, and new brands will vie for attention with premium solutions

April 2017’s CV Show looks set to mark an important event in the tyre business year, with a strong showing for the industry reflecting both the resilience shown in the UK commercial vehicle sector in 2016 and the potential opportunities offered by the coming period of political change. SMMT registration figures reveal that 2016 was a better year than might have been expected in the haulage and people transportation segments.

Registrations of new heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) rose 5.3 per cent to 46,231 units in a third consecutive year of growth. The new bus and coach market saw a second consecutive year of growth as demand rose 8.0 per cent, with 8,779 new buses and coaches registered. The final quarter was also strong across the board, with growth of 2.3 per cent and 4.6 per cent respectively in truck and bus registrations. This context, coupled with the flux of the coming years, will see tyre suppliers continue to seek roles as fleet service providers, a field in which premium brands lead the way with ever deeper and wider ranging solutions, while newer commercial vehicle tyre brands look set to increase competition in the sector. Both will be present at this year’s event.

SMMT 2016 commercial registrations

The SMMT’s registrations figures show that growth in truck and bus segments, while relatively strong, was not uniformly achieved. On the truck side, rigid vehicles fuelled the market throughout 2016, with both the >6-16T and >16T segments experiencing double-digit growth – up 21.6 per cent and 14.5 per cent respectively. The artics segment, meanwhile, ended the year down by 7.5 per cent, but in the fourth quarter bucked the downward trend set earlier in the year, rising by 0.7 per cent as an uplift in demand for 3+ axle artics compensated for a decline in 2 axle vehicles. Double-deck buses drove bus growth in 2016 (27.9 per cent, 1,927 units), while minibuses, which account for more than half of the market, also made strong gains (9.7 per cent, 4,418). This growth counteracted a 6.2 per cent decline in single-deck vehicles.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes commented on the “positive signs” for each segment: “HGVs are essential for transporting vital goods around the country and their demand provides a barometer for the UK economy, so these results are certainly welcome. Looking ahead, we must ensure business uncertainty is minimised so that this success continues.”

He added that the trend for bus operators investing in their fleets is also an encouraging sign. “Getting the latest technology and low emission vehicles on to British roads is essential to help improve air quality in our cities, and 2016’s strong record of fleet renewal will aide that process.”

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