EU commercial vehicle production falls again in October

The recent decline in commercial vehicle registrations in the European Union continued in October, with a 7.3% fall registered across the 28 nations, with the slowdown in van sales having a major impact on the figures.

Figures from the European Automobile Manufacturers Association showed that Germany saw the strongest drop in demand last month of 11.4%, followed by the UK (down 9.3%). Only Italy and Spain registered increases – but they were just by 0.7% and 0.9% respectively.

The decline in sales in October follows a 10% fall in September. However, in the 10 months of 2019, demand for new commercial vehicles in the EU is up by 3.3%, with increases in each of the five biggest EU markets: Germany (8.2%), France (5.1%), Italy (4.4%), the UK (3.8%) and Spain (1.4%).

In the light commercial vehicles (LCV) up to 3.5t sector, registrations fell by 5.8%, a decline blamed on the introduction of WLTP for all new vans on 1 September. As a result, the five major EU markets – except for Italy (2% up) – recorded losses last month; with falls in the UK (11%) and Germany (10.1%) in particular.

From January to October 2019, the EU market for new vans expanded by 3.4% to reach almost 1.8 million vehicles registered, despite the declines posted during the last two months. The five major markets performed well over the first 10 months of the year: Germany (+8.7%), Italy (+6.4%), France (+5.2%), the United Kingdom (+3.1%) and Spain (+1.5%).

For heavy commercial vehicles (HCV) of 16t and over, EU demand decreased by 15.2% in October, marking the fourth consecutive month of contracting sales. Apart from Spain, where sales jumped by 23.2%, all major markets posted negative results in October, with France (down 19.2%), Germany (15.4%) and Italy (12.6%) hit particularly badly, although 18 markets saw double-digit declines.

Despite this, so far in 2019, HCV registrations in the EU increased by 2.9%, supported largely by the positive results of four key markets: the UK (14.9%), Germany (5.7%), France (5.6%) and Spain (2.6%). But not every country is faring so well: demand has fallen by 7.3% in Italy.

Sales of vehicles between 3.5-16t followed a similar trend to the heavy-duty segment, with demand down 14.9% in October, a fourth consecutive month of declining sales.

Again, Spain, with an 18% increase, was the only major market to post growth in October, as registrations fell in all other key markets last month.

In the first 10 months of 2019, truck registrations saw year-on-year growth of 3.3% across the EU. The UK registered strongest growth of 12.5%, followed by Germany (7.6%), France (4.6%) and Spain (1%), but Italy (down 6.9%) performed worse than the year before.

Finally, registrations of buses and coaches across the EU were stable – down just 0.8% compared to October 2018. But the five big markets posted mixed results. France saw particularly strong growth (up 23.5%), followed by the UK (3.8%) and Italy (3.6%). By contrast, Germany and Spain saw demand fall in October – down 12.3% and 2.8% respectively.

From January to October, demand for new buses and coaches in the EU is up by 2.5%. The Central European markets – up 12.3% – largely contributed to this result, while in Western Europe only France (4.2%) and Spain (0.3%) managed to post modest growth.

Dan Parton
Dan Parton
Dan Parton is a freelance journalist and former editor of Truck & Driver, the UK's biggest selling truck magazine. He writes for both The Van Expert and The Truck Expert.

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