Demand in the bus and coach market decline for the seventh successive quarter in Q3 of 2018.
Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reveal that the quarter suffered from falling registrations when compared to Q3 of 2017.
For the months of July to September, the number of buses and coaches registered totalled 1,820, which is 8.8% lower than the same months of last year.
It is a real concern for the industry; after a fall in registrations of 3.6% in the second quarter of the year, Q3 saw an even more marked decline, with all sub-sectors suffering.
By far the biggest contributor to the drop in registrations was double-deck vehicles, which fell by 26.8% in Q3.
For minibuses up to 3.5 tonnes, a fall of 3.8% was recorded, though this is the best-performing sub-sector, with 1,130 vehicles having joined the UK’s roads in the quarter.
Single-deck vehicles fell by 8.9%.
It reflects a wider pattern of falling registrations which, in the year-to-date, has declined overall by 5.6%.
Again, double-deck registrations were responsible for the biggest fall of almost a quarter (24%), while single-deck registrations dropped by almost 13%.
The only bright note was the levels of minibus registrations for the year-to-date, which have increased by 6.1% for the first nine months of 2018.
Decreases in registrations in the markets for the quarter are indicative of the Clean Air Zone plans and the uncertainty associated with these; while the level of business confidence is also having an impact.
SMMT’s Chief Executive, Mike Hawes, described the registrations as “concerning” and echoed the effects of political uncertainty.
He said: “While the cyclical nature of the bus and coach market can result in fluctuating registrations, this seventh consecutive quarter of decline is concerning.
“Operators face political and economic uncertainty, alongside confusion surrounding the upcoming Clean Air Zones that will differ by local authority, which is inevitably affecting their confidence to invest in the latest low emission buses.
“We need the right conditions that encourage businesses to commit to renewing their fleets, especially given the vital role buses will play in improving local air quality.”