Colin Robertson of ADL

Colin Robertson of ADL

UK's bus and coach market motors on

The UK’s new bus and coach market saw a second consecutive year of growth in 2016, as demand rose 8.0%, according to figures published by SMMT.

8,779 new buses and coaches were registered in total last year, with more than 2,000 registrations made in the last quarter – a 4.6% uplift on Q4 2015.

Double-decks continued to drive growth in 2016, with full year demand rising by more than a quarter (27.9%) to 1,927 units.

Minibuses, which account for more than half of the market, also made strong gains, with registrations increasing 9.7% to 4,418, counteracting a -6.2% decline in single-deck vehicles.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “2016 proved to be another strong year for the British bus and coach market, with many operators investing in their fleets over the past 12 months.

“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.”

The news has also been welcomed by Alexander Dennis Limited, the UK’s largest bus and coach builder and one of the fastest-growing in Western Europe.

Another strong performance last year saw ADL capture more than half of the UK bus market and deliver a record number of double deckers with close to 1,000 new vehicles put on the road.

Chief executive Colin Robertson told BQ: “Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) has met expectations by equalling the £602m turnover record achieved in 2015.

“This is an outstanding performance as ADL offset a significant cyclical decline in the important Hong Kong market by winning new business and growing its market share elsewhere.”

He added: “ADL’s buses deliver reliability as well as lowest cost of owership to operators, and they are backed up by best in class aftermarket support.

“It is this unbeatable combination that is appreciated by bus companies across the UK and abroad.

“2017 is going to be a tougher year in the UK with a slight market slowdown and increasingly hungry competitors.

“It is still the bedrock of our business, however we have exciting opportunities lined up elsewhere and will be delivering our first vehicles into Mexico and Switzerland to take ADL to new markets.”