Commercial vehicles: registrations down for fifth month in a row

Brussels, 24/10/2008 – For the fifth consecutive month, new registrations of commercial vehicles in Europe* declined. In September, demand for new vehicles fell by 8.8%, despite two extra working days across the region.

Markets were stable in the new Member States (+0.2%) but contracted significantly in Western Europe (-9.8%), with a falling demand in all commercial vehicle categories, except buses and coaches. Over the first nine months of 2008, European* registrations were down 3.8% to 1,978,926 units, as the decline in the last few months overrode the positive results in the beginning of the year. This is reflecting the consequences of the credit crunch and the subsequent spillover of the financial crisis to the real economy, which are both negatively affecting demand for commercial vehicles. Geographically, results were mixed as the new EU Member States posted an 8.6% growth, counterbalancing the 5.2% decline in Western Europe.

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

In September, the segment of light commercial vehicles decreased the most, falling by 9.6% compared to September last year. In Western Europe, registrations were down 12.0%. The most important declines came from Ireland (-53.5%), Spain (-44.8%), Denmark (-30.2%), the UK (-22.5%) and Italy (-17.1%). With respective growth rates of 8.5% and 7.5%, Germany and France performed better than last year. With 16.5% more vehicles registered in September, markets in the new EU Member States are still on an upward trend despite last month’s 3.0% decline. The biggest ones, the Czech Republic and Poland, improved their results by 13.7% and 3.4% respectively compared to September last year. The cumulative results from January to September saw a 5.1% contraction of the market. Overall results in Western Europe contributed to the decline, with the sharpest drops in Denmark (-37.9%), Spain (-33.0%), Ireland (-30.6%) and Portugal (-21.8%). The UK (-8.0%) and Italy (-1.8%) are also on a downward trend. Nine months into the year, the Dutch (+9.3), German (5.9%) and French (3.3%) markets all posted growths.

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

Over the month of September, demand for new heavy commercial vehicles was stable (0.0% change) in Western Europe but decreased by 28.3% in the new EU Member States, resulting in an overall 4.8% decline. The most important drops were observed in Ireland (-54.5%), Spain (-50.1%) and Italy (-18.2%). Results slipped by 1.4% in France while increasing by 10.1% in the UK and 21.0% in Germany. In the new EU Member States, except for Bulgaria (+32.9%), all markets contracted, including Poland, the largest one (-34.2%). The cumulative figures nine months into the year are positive (+3.5%). New registrations in Western Europe (+6.1%) lifted the European market as results in the new EU Member States went down 9.2%. Looking at Western Europe, all major markets expanded, Spain excepted (-22.2%). The UK improved its performance by 33.2% compared to the same period last year, France by 14.0%, Germany by 4.8% and Italy by 3.4%.

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

In September, registrations in this vehicle segment slipped by 0.8% in Western Europe and fell by 35.7% in the new Member States, resulting in a 6.9% overall contraction. Markets in Spain (-48.3%) and Italy (-15.8%) were down while results for the UK (+3.6%) and Germany (17.7%) were positive. Registrations in France remained stable (+0.3%). Cumulative results show that new demand for trucks increased by 1.2% thanks to the 4.5% upturn in Western Europe which counterbalanced the 14.5% drop recorded in the new EU Member States. Registrations were down 30.2% in Ireland and 21.5% in Spain. The Netherlands (+25.6%), the UK (+22.2%) and France (14.2%) recorded double digit growths. The German market was up 2.6% and the Italian 1.6%. In the new EU Member States, Poland consolidated its position as the largest market, improving its performance by 5.9%.

New Buses & Coaches over 3.5t

Demand for new buses and coaches in Europe* increased by 7.1% in September and 14.6% over the first nine months of 2008. With the exception of Greece (-5.4%), Spain (-9.8%) and the Netherlands (-18.5%), all markets posted growth.

* EU27+EFTA, data for Cyprus and Malta are unavailable ACEA press releases on commercial vehicles have been covering Bulgaria and Romania since January 2008


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
  • 8.3% of all manufacturing jobs in the EU
  • €392.2 billion in tax revenue for European governments
  • €101.9 billion trade surplus for the European Union
  • Over 7% of EU GDP generated by the auto industry
  • €59.1 billion in R&D spending annually, 31% of EU total
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