Volvo Group posts 63% truck sales decline for April

Following the lead of North American truck OEMs, Volvo Truck Group reported worldwide April sales of just 9,196 vehicles-- a 63% decline over April 2008

Following the lead of North American truck OEMs, Volvo Truck Group reported worldwide April sales of just 9,196 vehicles-- a 63% decline over April 2008.

Eastern European sales took the largest dive, dropping from 2,896 trucks to 382, an 87% drop. Europe as a whole fell 69% with 4,052 trucks sold. North America sales also plummeted 69% to 1,128 vehicles. “The utilization rate in the operators’ truck fleets has decreased, and the truck industry as a whole has too-high inventories of both new and used trucks,” Volvo Truck Group said. “This will continue to impact the production of new trucks in the coming months with a very low capacity utilization in the industrial system as a consequence.”

Year-to-date, the truck maker said its sales are down 54% to 41,433 units, led by a 62% decline in Europe, its largest market, and 52% in North America. “We are only seeing the first year of the downturn in Europe, so I couldn’t imagine an improvement,” Oppenheim Research analyst Ulrich Scholz told Forbes.com. “The U.S. however has already seen a weak year and there is justified hope that the replacement cycle could start at any time.”

The Sweden-based OEM produces trucks under the Volvo, Mack, Renault Trucks, Nissan Diesel and Eicher nameplates. Reflecting weak construction starts in the U.S., deliveries of Mack Trucks fell 59% to 724 vehicles worldwide, 547 of those in North America. “Mack has been particularly affected by low industry-wide sales of dump trucks and mixers resulting from the dramatic decline in housing construction,” Volvo said.

The company’s other brands also saw similar declines, with Renault Trucks and Nissan Diesel each falling 64%. Eicher, which sells in Asia, was incorporated into the Volvo Groaup in August 2008. Year to date, the brand has sold 2,438 units with 593 coming in August.

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