In March, new commercial vehicle registrations dropped by 11.8%, totaling 184,235 units in the EU, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA). With the exception of Germany (+0.3%), all other significant markets shrank, from -7.0% in the UK to -11.2% in France, -22.1% in Spain and -45.4% in Italy.
Over the first quarter of 2012, demand was down 9.6%, compared to the same quarter a year earlier. Downturn prevailed across countries as new registrations fell by 1.0% in Germany, 5.8% in France, 8.9% in the UK, 22.6% in Spain and 36.1% in Italy. In total, the EU recorded 451,244 new commercial vehicles.
New Light Commercial Vehicles up to 3.5t. In March, with 151,007 new vans registered, the segment of vans faced the sharpest drop since October 2009 (-13.8%). The German market slightly contracted (-1.0%), while all other major markets experienced double-digit downturns, which ranged from -11.1% in the UK to -12.0% in France, -20.0% in Spain and -47.7% in Italy. From January to March, results were diverse across markets as demand in Germany was stable (+0.1%), whereas France saw its market down by 6.6%, the UK by 14.7%, Spain by 21.7% and Italy by 37.7%. A total of 368,763 new vans were registered, or 11.2% less than in the same period in 2011.
New Heavy Commercial Vehicles over 16t (excluding Buses & Coaches). In March, the EU counted 21,913 new heavy trucks, which is 4.1% less than in March last year. The UK (+3.0%) and Germany (+6.3%) posted growth, unlike France (-2.4%), Italy (-14.7%) and Spain (-34.5%). Three months into the year, the EU truck market contracted by 3.1% with 56,135 new vehicles registered. The German market remained the largest although down 2.9%, followed by the French which was stable at +0.5%. The UK ranked third in absolute figures but was the only major market to grow substantially (+15.8%). Italy (-18.0%) and Spain (-21.7%) saw their markets considerably shrink.
New Commercial Vehicles over 3.5t (excluding Buses & Coaches). March results were also negative for truck registrations which were down 3.4% and totaled 29,856 units. Germany and the UK grew by 2.1% and 20.1% respectively, while France (-3.4%), Italy (-25.0%) and Spain (-35.2%) all contracted. In the first quarter, the 74,702 new trucks recorded in the EU represented a 2.4% decrease compared to the first three months of 2011. Despite the expansion of the second and third largest markets, France (+2.1%) and the UK (+28.7%), the downturn affecting Germany (-4.4%), Italy (-22.7%) and Spain (-23.6%) led to an overall decrease of new registrations in the region.
New Buses & Coaches over 3.5t. In March, buses and coaches were the only segment to post growth (+17.9%), sustained by the strong demand in the UK (+86.7%) and Germany (+22.6%). From January to March, the UK (+70.1%) and Germany (+18.8%) remained the largest markets, followed by France (-11.5%). In total, 7,779 new vehicles were registered in the EU, or 6.2% more than in the same period last year.