European CV market contracts in December but grows across 2017

25 January 2018

25 January 2018

European commercial vehicle registrations grew in 2017, despite a slow month in December, with light commercial vehicles leading the market’s growth.

Figures released by the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) show that in December 2017, registrations declined by 3.5%, partially due to there being one less working day compared to the previous year. Demand fell across four of the big five EU nations, with only Germany posting an increase of 0.2%. Italy, however, posed the strongest drop in sales, its market finishing the month 17.4% down on 2016.

However demand across the continent increase throughout the year, with final figures showing over 2.4 million registrations, 3.2% more than 2016. Spain drove this growth with an increase of 13.5% year-on-year, followed by France with a 6.9% rise, and Germany with 3.3%. However, demand in Italy fell by 2.3%, while the market in the UK mirrored the new car registrations, and struggled with a 4.4% decrease.

In the new light commercial vehicle (LCV) market up to 3.5 tonnes, December saw a drop of 3% with 172,603 vehicles registered. The UK led the way with an increase of 4.9% in the month, while Germany posted sales up 2.2%. France, Spain and Italy both saw their market decrease, with the latter falling 18%. Overall in the year, the LCV market grew 3.9% with over two million units sold, Spain leading the way with a rise of 15.5% year-on-year.

In the medium and heavy commercial vehicle (MHCV) over 3.5 tonnes market, December saw a drop of 6.7% across the continent, with 29,051 trucks registered. Overall in 2017, 367,102 units were sold, which led to a minor drop of just 0.2% compared to 2016. France and Italy performed well in the year, up 6.5% and 4.5% respectively, while the UK saw a 7.1% decline in its market.

December results show that registrations of new heavy commercial vehicles (HCVs) of 16 tonnes or over fell by 6.2% compared to the same month one year ago, with 23,137 units registered. Heavy-truck demand contracted in the UK by 24.9%, while Italy dropped 8.7% and Spain fell 5.5%. The French market showed growth, up by 7.5%. For the whole of 2017, the HCV market saw a modest increase of 0.5% across the continent with 297,171 units sold. The Italian market saw the strongest gain with 8.4% followed by France with 6.9% and Germany, up 1.4%. Spain saw sales decrease by 0.6%, while the UK market declined 7.9%.

Finally, in the medium and heavy buses and coaches (MHBC) over 3.5 tonnes category, demand was stable in December, with an overall decrease of just 0.3%. This was largely thanks to France, which saw a rise of 48.1% in registrations, with smaller EU countries posting a total increase of 47.8%. This offset drops of 24% in the UK and 25.6% in Spain.  

In 2017, the EU bus and coach market contracted by 0.5%) totalling 40,515 units. The UK and France saw demand fall by 18.8% and 4.0% respectively, but registrations of new buses and coaches increased substantially in Italy by 20.3%, while Spain posted a 6.9% rise.

Photograph courtesy of Ford