Europe sees truck registrations plummet

Europe sees truck registrations plummet

The economic doldrums have taken their toll on European commercial vehicle registrations. In the January-June period this year, registrations plummeted 37.2%, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Assn. (ACEA).

The economic doldrums have taken their toll on European commercial vehicle registrations. In the January-June period this year, registrations plummeted 37.2%, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Assn. (ACEA).

In the first half of 2009, 883,301 vehicles were registered, down from 1.5 million units in the first half of 2008. New registrations have declined for 14 consecutive months.

Heavy trucks, weighing more than 16 tons, saw a 52.4% decline in June. France performed the best, down 41.7%. Western Europe posted a 47.8% decline with the UK (48.6%), Germany (49.6%), Italy (51.2%) and Spain (68%) all reporting drops. For the first six months, registrations were down 41.3% in Western Europe and 46.4% overall. Spain saw a 75.9% drop while France recorded “just” 34.9%.

In the truck category for vehicles over 3.5 tons but less than 16 tons, registrations fell to 19.965 units in June, down 48.3% from June 2008. For the first six months, the decline was 42.3% with the decline in Western Europe 37.7%.

Vans, categorized as up to 3.5 tons, fared slightly better, falling 29.2% in June and 36.5% for the first half of the year. France (down 23.6%) again performed better than the rest of the countries. Germany was down 28% and Italy 29.4%, but the UK posted a 45.6% decline and Spain a 49.8% drop.

The results seem to be in line with what the manufacturers have been reporting regarding sales this year. MAN SE reported profits dropped 95% in the second quarter.

“The next six months will be tough,” MAN CEO Hakan Samuelsson said at a news conference in Munich. “Capacity use will be hard to maintain during the usually slow vacation season and, with a risk of more losses on loans, the second-half operating result will be under a lot of pressure.”

Paccar posted a 92% drop in profit on weak worldwide sales, including a 67% drop in Europe, and Volvo Group saw its worst quarterly ever at $720 million.

“We see that the decline in demand has started to level off and that the markets have stabilized, even though it is still difficult to predict the rest of the year," said Volvo president & CEO Leif Johansson in a statement.

According to a story by MarketWatch, Volvo Group is sticking to its forecast of a nearly 50% drop in the European truck market this year, a sentiment affirmed by MAN.

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