Commercial vehicles: sustained growth in light truck market; heavy truck sector still distorted

Brussels, 26/06/2007- Van registrations have steadily gone up since the beginning of the year. In May, 191,232 new vans were registered in Europe (EU23+EFTA), +3.6% more than last year (+2.7% in the EU15). The heavy truck sector saw its registrations soar by 59.9% due to an exceptionally low result in the same month last year. With the number of working days differing throughout the EU, the calendar effect seems to be limited (one extra working day in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Hungary). Overall, after first five months of 2007, there were 5.3% more new vans registered in Europe than last year. May upswing has been sustained by healthy demand on the French (+6.2%) and German (+2.5%) markets. On the contrary, Spain (–1%), Italy (–1.8%) and the UK (–2.5%) saw their registrations fall. Other four EU15 countries suffered losses while the remaining markets posted strong growths ranging from +10.1% in Sweden to +30.1% in Finland. New EU members (+5.3%) also positively contributed to the general result. Also cumulative figures (+4.2% EU15, +19.1% new EU member states) confirmed a solid upward trend in van registrations. All EU markets, apart from Greece –6.9%, Hungary –18.5% and Lithuania –0.8% improved their results compared to January-May 2006.

New Heavy Commercial Vehicles over 16t (excluding Buses & Coaches)

New heavy truck registrations in Europe (EU22+EFTA) climbed by 64.9% in May 2007. This result must nevertheless be put into perspective due to last year’s registrations distorted by a plunge in purchases further to the introduction of digital tachograph in May 2006. Any meaningful analysis is therefore still difficult to conduct. However, some countries have recently been reporting reasonable orders, which will only translate into registrations later on. Nearly all markets posted two- or three-digit growths, with Germany almost tripling its last year’s weak result of 1,565 vehicles (6,172 vehicles this year). This, however, was nothing else but a return to the registration level from the previous years (7,910 in 2005). The situation in Italy remained barely the same as in May 2006 (–0.3%) and other main markets stabilized at their usual registration levels (the UK +16%, Spain +13.8% and France +9.8%). New member states practically doubled their heavy truck registrations in May 2007. Thanks to this month’s strong growth in European truck registrations, the –10.9% loss from January-April has been reduced to –3.3% in May. Still, the majority of the EU15 countries saw their results deteriorate as compared with last year (–8.1%). On the contrary, new Member States further improved their already high result (+40.5%).

New Commercial Vehicles over 3.5t (excluding Buses & Coaches)

Reflecting the above-depicted developments in the heavy truck sector, new commercial vehicle market in Europe (EU22+EFTA) saw its registrations soar by 59.9%. In total, 38,411 trucks were registered in May 2007. The new EU members’ registrations more than doubled, reaching 5,430 units. Again, only Italy (–1.2%) and Greece (–20.9%) saw their registrations fall, while the remaining countries firmly rebounded. The largest markets showed increases ranging from +2.5% in France, through +18.1% in Spain and +18.4% in the UK to 191% in Germany. Cumulative figures showed a mixed picture, with the EU15 decreasing by –9.4% and new Member States still on a sound upturn path (+40%).

New Buses & Coaches over 3.5t

The market for new buses and coaches in Europe (EU21+EFTA) showed some recovery signs in May 2007 (+6.7%), contributing to reduce the overall cumulative loss (–11%). Italian and British bus & coach registrations decreased (–6% and –27.3%) while German, French and Spanish markets saw their results improve (+114.5%, +16.1% and +10.9%, respectively).

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