In March 2020, demand for new commercial vehicles fell by 47.3% across the EU, as measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 lead to the closure of dealerships, according to the ACEA (European Automobile Manufacturers Association).
Each vehicle segment was strongly affected by the fallout of the COVID-19 outbreak and all 27 EU markets recorded substantial declines last month. The strongest drops were posted by Italy (-66.1%), Spain (-64.4%) and France (-63.1%).
New commercial vehicle registrations by type in the EU.
In the first quarter of 2020, the EU commercial vehicle market contracted by 23.2% to 413,327 units as a direct consequence of March’s substantial slowdown. The four major markets, Spain (-31.7%), France (-26.9%), Italy (-26.6%) and Germany (-14.4%), all faced double-digit losses so far this year.
New light commercial vehicles (LCV) up to 3.5t. March registrations of light commercial vehicles took the biggest hit of all segments. Demand fell by half (-49.8%) compared to the year before, with registrations dropping from 165,455 vans in March 2019 to 83,141 units this year. With the exception of Hungary, which posted a more modest decline than other countries, all EU markets saw double-digit percentage drops last month, including the major ones. In Italy registrations tumbled by 71.2% and Spain saw a 67.2% drop.
From January to March, demand for new vans in the European Union shrank by 23.1%. Each of the four main EU markets performed worse than in 2019. Spain recorded the biggest drop (-33.5%), followed by Italy (-29.4%), France (-27.3%) and Germany (-11.8%).
New heavy commercial vehicles (HCV) of 16t and over. During the third month of 2020, EU demand for new heavy trucks declined significantly (-38.0%), marking the ninth consecutive month of decline. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, registrations dropped in all European markets and especially in France, where demand for heavy trucks was slashed by more than half (-50.2%).
During the first quarter of the year, heavy truck sales fell in all major EU markets, with France (-27.7%) and Germany (-25.9%) posting the strongest drops. This brought total registrations down to 54,168 heavy trucks so far in 2020, or 26.9% less than last year.
New medium and heavy commercial vehicles (MHCV) over 3.5t. In March of this year, total new truck registrations in the EU continued to suffer from the slowdown in demand for heavy-duty trucks, decreasing by 35.6%. The four largest EU markets all recorded significant declines last month: France (-49.3%), Italy (-33.5%), Spain (-30.8%) and Germany (-27.6%).
Three months into 2020, 66,376 new trucks were registered across the European Union, down 24.8% compared to the first quarter of 2019. Similar to their performance in the heavy‐truck segment, Germany (-26.4%) and France (-23.1%) reported the biggest losses, followed by Spain (-15.1%) and Italy (-12.3%) with slightly less extreme declines.
New medium and heavy buses & coaches (MHBC) over 3.5t. In March 2020, EU demand for new buses and coaches plunged by 37.1% to 1,905 units. Germany (+11.8%), Austria (+12.3%), Estonia (+800.0%) and Cyprus (+33.3%) were the only markets in the region to post growth last month. All other EU countries recorded significant losses in March, and Spain (-68.8%) in particular.
From January to March, bus and coach registrations contracted by 10.3%, with 7,637 new vehicles registered in total across the European Union. Despite the March drop, overall demand remained positive in three of the four major EU markets so far this year: Germany (+12.4%), Italy (+9.5%) and France (+6.8%). By contrast, Spanish registrations were down 37.2% during the first quarter.