EU LCV market drops 17.3% in October

26 November 2021

Recording just over 119,000 registrations, the EU’s light-commercial vehicle (LCV) market fell by 17.3% last month compared with October 2019. This takes the LCV (vans and light-duty trucks with a gross vehicle weight under 3.5 tonnes) year-to-date (YTD) total to 1.3 million units, a comparative drop of 9.3% against the same period two years ago.

The latest figures from the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) show the EU’s entire commercial-vehicle market (LCVs, medium and heavy-commercial vehicles, buses, and coaches) was down 17.4% in October against the same month in 2019. This is a steep decline compared with September, when registrations only fell by 0.8%.

However, the EU’s commercial-vehicle market was not the only one to suffer last month. With just over 665,000 registrations, the new-car market saw its weakest result in volume terms for October since records began.

Lockdowns dominated 2020, making year-on-year comparisons with 2021 too volatile. So, Autovista24 compares this year’s figures against 2019. This provides a firmer baseline, removing the potential for wild comparative deviations.

Major markets down

All of the EU’s major LCV markets suffered significant declines in October. With barely 10,500 registrations, Spain saw the worst result – falling 39.4% against the same month in 2019. YTD, the country’s LCV market dropped 28.2%. Spain’s wider commercial-vehicle market declined 38.3% in October and 27.3% against the comparative period in the first 10 months of the year.

France also ran into difficulties, recording just over 30,000 LCV registrations last month, equating to a drop of 27.8% against October 2019. While this was a bad month for the country, this only results in a YTD decline of 9%. France’s entire commercial-vehicle market fell 26.7% in October and 10.3% YTD against 2019.

Germany and Italy’s LCV markets fared slightly better. They fell 15.2% and 16% respectively in October, and 12.3% and 0.5% YTD against the period up for comparison. Their wider commercial-vehicle markets tumbled by 17.2% and 17.5% in October, and YTD registrations fell 14.9% and 0.5% respectively.

Outside of the EU, the UK saw nearly 27,500 LCV registrations last month, up 8.1% compared to two years ago. However, YTD, the country remains down 5.6% on the period up for comparison. Focusing on the whole commercial-vehicle market, the UK market shrank by 1.4% last month and 9.4% in the first 10 months of the year compared with 2019.

Not all bad news

Elsewhere in the EU, Austria’s LCV market saw 8,164 registrations. This equated to an increase of 132.5% against October 2019, giving a YTD boost up to 42.1% against 2019. Overall, its commercial-vehicle market grew by 114.7% last month and 30.8% YTD.

LCV registrations in Greece also increased, up to 45.6% last month and 35.9% YTD against 2019. Its total commercial-vehicle registrations increased by 43.9% in October and 34% YTD. Romania’s LCV and wider commercial-vehicle market also enjoyed growth, up 23.9% and 6.1% respectively in October. However, this is not consistent with the rest of 2021, as its LCV and total commercial-vehicle registrations are, respectively, down 8.7% and 14.8% YTD against 2019.

Both commercial-vehicle and passenger-car markets continue to endure enormous turbulence as fresh waves of COVID-19 bring with them new localised restrictions. These markets also face ongoing headwinds as semiconductors run short and supply chains crack. So, even when consumers and businesses do look to purchase new vehicles, they are faced with increased delivery lead times.