Commercial vehicles: registrations decline by 9.0% in 2008

Brussels, 23/01/2009 – In 2008, demand for new commercial vehicles decreased by 9.0% across Europe reflecting the impact of the economic crisis in the second half of the year and marking the sharpest downturn in demand since 1993.

After a slight increase in the first quarter of 2008 (+1.3%), new registrations backtracked in the second quarter (-2.7%) and dropped more dramatically in the third (-12.0%) and fourth (-24.0%). In total, 2,515,893 new vehicles were registered last year. The 24.4% decrease in December was the second largest of the year, after a 30.8% plunge in November. The December fall – involving all vehicle categories — was somewhat eased by the on average two more working days across the region**.

New Light Commercial Vehicles up to 3.5t – “vans”

In December, demand for new light commercial vehicles decreased by 26.7% in Western Europe and 22.9% in the new EU Member States, resulting in an overall downturn of 26.3%. Only Finland (+5.0%) and Poland (+3.4%) posted growth. In absolute figures, and despite a 16.2% decrease, France remained the main market with 31,316 new vans registered, followed by Italy (19,584 units, -23.0%), Germany (-6.3%), the UK (-27.3%) and Spain (-64.0%). In 2008, the segment of light commercial vehicles was the most severely hit by the crisis (-10.4%) in spite of the 5.1% growth posted in the new EU Member States. Overall results were pulled down by the performance recorded in Western Europe (-12.0%). Of the biggest markets, France (-0.3%) and Germany (+0.8%) proved to be relatively stable, while Italy (-8.7%), the UK (-14.9%) and Spain (-39.7%) faced a more heavy drop. In the new EU Member States, the Czech Republic (-3.3%) and Poland (8.9%) remained the largest markets.

New Heavy Commercial Vehicles over 16t (excluding Buses & Coaches) – “heavy trucks”

Over the month of December, registrations of new heavy commercial vehicles dropped by 9.6% in Western Europe and decreased more strongly in the new EU Member States (-45.1%), resulting in an overall 15.4% downturn. Looking at the major markets, Italy (+9.1%) and the UK (+12.7%) ended the year in the plus, while France (-2.4%), Germany (-17.4%) and Spain (-53.4%) performed less well than a year ago. Cumulative figures for the whole year show a more contrasting picture as the West European market slightly increased by 0.4% and demand in the new EU Member States fell by 15.3%, resulting in a 2.2% downturn for Europe*. In Western Europe, the French (+8.5%) and the British (+19.6) markets closed 2008 higher, while new heavy truck registrations slipped by 1.0% in Germany and by 1.8% in Italy. The Spanish market performed worst with a 30.7% drop in 2008.

New Commercial Vehicles over 3.5t (excluding Buses & Coaches) – “trucks”

The December results in the segment of trucks reflect a sharper drop in the new EU Member States (-48.1%) than in Western Europe (-6.8%), leading to a 14.7% contraction of the European* market. Although decreasing by 10.0%, Germany remained by far the largest market for trucks. Italy (+2.5%), France (+3.6%) and the UK (+5.8%) all posted growth. For the third consecutive month, demand in Spain more than halved (-50.6%). Over the year, new truck registrations fell by 4.0% in Europe*, mainly because of the 21.1% decrease in the new EU Member States. In Western Europe, registrations leveled 2007 (-0.5%). On the major markets, the best results were posted by France (+9.6%) and the UK (+13.1%). Spain performed the worst (-29.4%). The Italian (-3.7%) and the German (-1.1%) markets decreased as well.

New Buses & Coaches over 3.5t

Despite a 7.5% decrease in December, the segment of buses and coaches was the only one to expand in 2008 (+12.1%). Growth was posted both in Western Europe (+6.6%) and in the new EU Member States (+58.7%).

* EU27+EFTA, data for Cyprus and Malta are unavailable ** One more working day for Italy, the Netherlands and Poland; three more for Finland and Latvia, same number of working days as last year for Portugal. 


About ACEA

  • The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) is the Brussels-based trade association of the 15 major car, van, truck and bus producers in Europe
  • The ACEA commercial vehicle members are DAF Trucks, Daimler Truck, Ford Trucks, Iveco Group, MAN Truck & Bus, Scania, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, and Volvo Group
  • Visit for more information about ACEA, and follow us on or
  • Contact: Francesca Piazza, Senior Statistics Manager,

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About the EU automobile industry

  • 12.9 million Europeans work in the automotive sector
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