Commercial vehicles: registrations up 1.4% in first quarter 2008

Brussels, 25/04/2008 - New commercial vehicle registrations in the first quarter this year amounted to 700,245 units* in Europe (EU27+EFTA), or 1.4% more than in the first three months of 2007.

Results for March, however, were 4.9% lower than last year, partly due to the timing of the Easter break, which led to the loss of two business days**. From January to March 2008, demand rose for all categories of vehicles, with the exception of light commercial vehicles.

New Light Commercial Vehicles up to 3.5t - “vans”

The van segment was the only category of commercial vehicles affected by the economic downturn. Monthly figures for March show a 7.8% decline in Western Europe and, despite the 14.4% increase in the new EU Member States, an overall decrease of 6.1%. The markets in France, Italy and the UK still posted growth ranging from 6.2% to 1.6%. Germany, however, recorded a 6.3% drop and the Spanish figures (-35.9%) reflected the deteriorating economic outlook for the country. The new EU Member States all registered more vehicles in March compared with last year, except for Estonia and Latvia. Poland and the Czech Republic registered the most cars, 5,614 and 4,898 respectively. Cumulative figures counter-balanced the March results in the majority of markets. In Western Europe, only France performed better in March (+6.2%) than over the first quarter as a whole (+1.8%). Italy registered 11% more vans and the UK 2.3% more. The number of vehicles registered throughout the first quarter in Europe was stable compared to the same period last year (-1%). Western Europe registered 3% less and the new EU Member States 22.9% more.

New Heavy Commercial Vehicles over 16t (excluding Buses & Coaches) – “heavy trucks”

Monthly figures recorded a stable demand for heavy trucks (+0.3%) in Europe, and in Western Europe (-0.5%). The new EU Member States increased their registrations by 4.5%. The fall in registrations in the German market (-30.6%) was balanced by an increase of the French and British markets by 18.1% and 37.3% respectively. Italian and Spanish registrations dropped by 9.7% and 37.3%. Among the new EU Member States, Poland stood out with 2,138 trucks registered. While the European market proved to be stable in March, registrations rose by 13.2% looking at the cumulative figures up till March. Western Europe increased its result by 14.1% and the new EU Member States by 8.5%. In the first quarter, Germany registered the most trucks (16,791) despite a 4.2% decrease. France recorded 13,683 registrations and a 32.5% rise. A sound 42.5% increase was posted by the UK, as the Italian market expanded by 5.9% and the Spanish fell by 5.1%.

New Commercial Vehicles over 3.5t (excluding Buses & Coaches) – “trucks”

The March results in Western Europe declined by 2.6%, whereas demand in the new Member States grew by 6.7%. As a consequence, overall demand in Europe slightly decreased by 1.2%. In the first quarter of the year, both Western Europe and the new Member States posted growth (+11.7% and +18.8%), leading to an overall increase of 12.7%. The biggest market in this segment was Germany with 24,789 vehicles registered from January to March, albeit a 5.5% contraction. France came second with 16,018 units and a 28.2% increase, followed by the UK with 14,846 trucks and a 43.7% upturn over the same period. In the new Member States, the three most important markets are Poland (6,993 units, +26.6%), the Czech Republic (2,543) and Romania (2,128).

New Buses & Coaches over 3.5t

Registrations of buses and coaches in Europe were 20.5% higher in the first quarter of this year than last year. They were up by 16.7% in Western Europe and 47.6% in the new Member States. The major market for this segment is the United Kingdom, which grew by 44.2% over the past three months.

NB: ACEA press releases on commercial vehicles have been covering Bulgaria and Romania since January 2008.

* Please note that registration figures for Denmark were still incomplete at the time of publication.

** Three less days in Germany, the UK, Greece, Sweden, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovakia; four less days in Spain and Denmark.

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