The UK new heavy goods vehicle (HGV) market declined 7% year on year in Q3 2018, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

A tally of 9,853 heavy trucks was registered between June and September, a result, the SMMT said, "of fluctuating fleet buying cycles and ongoing falls in business confidence".

Registrations of rigid trucks declined in the third quarter, down 9.8%, with a 6.0% decrease in the >6-16 tonne segment and a 11.9% decline in the >16 tonne segment.

Demand for artic vehicles also fell, by 3.1% to 4,246 units.

Tractors remained the most popular vehicle, despite a 4.1% drop in demand, accounting for more than two fifths (42.8%) of the market. Skip loaders and box vans were the only segments to record growth in the quarter, up 11.1% and 2.4% respectively.

It was a similar picture in the year to date figures with overall HGV registrations falling 7.5% to 30,308 units, with declines in demand for both rigids (9.9%) and artics (4.1%).

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: "While fluctuating fleet buying cycles are a natural feature of the HGV market, given this quarter marks the fifth consecutive decline, there is no doubt that a fall in operator confidence is having an impact on registrations of these big ticket purchases.

Government must address the current economic and political uncertainty if we are to get more of these high-tech, ultra-low emission vehicles on to our roads, and to ensure the sector can prosper."