China very dynamic – Europe and US expand – Brazil and Russia return to growth zone
The global market for heavy-duty commercial vehicles over 6 tonnes grew strongly in 2017. A good 3.3 million trucks were sold worldwide, which was a rise of 16 percent compared with 2016. Matthias Wissmann, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), stressed, “This growth was driven by the keen demand in China, but also by the markets in Europe and the US and the growth in India. In addition, Brazil and Russia returned to the growth zone – in time for this year’s IAA Commercial Vehicles.” The IAA Commercial Vehicles 2018 will take place in Hannover from September 20 to 27, and is organized by the VDA.
Worldwide, four out of ten heavy-duty commercial vehicles were purchased in China. This took the Chinese market to a volume of 1.35 million vehicles. The year-on-year growth of 40 percent equates to 384,000 units. The robust market development was principally due to the purchases brought forward before the nationwide introduction of China’s new exhaust standard 5 in mid-year, and to stricter controls to prevent overloading and the extra heavy trucks needed in their wake. In India, too, sales of heavy commercial vehicles increased markedly in 2017. The market expanded by 13 percent to reach 295,000 trucks.
After two years of double-digit growth, new registrations in Western Europe added 2 percent last year, climbing to 291,000 heavy-duty commercial vehicles. This is the highest level since 2008. Among the large volume markets, the strongest growth rates were seen in Italy (+8 percent) and France (+7 percent). While the German market slightly exceeded its 2016 result (+0.3 percent), the Spanish market contracted minimally (-0.4 percent). The market in the United Kingdom lost rather more ground (-3 percent); despite positive developments in the first half-year, the final result moved further and further away from the previous year’s level.
The US truck market picked up a lot of speed in the second half of 2017, and made up for losses at the beginning of 2017. The market finished the year with growth of 4 percent, on 415,000 heavy trucks sold. The heavy-duty segment over 15 tonnes ultimately proved to be the most dynamic.
Last year, the Brazilian truck market began consolidation at a low level. Following three years of double-digit contraction, new registrations increased by 3 percent to 48,000 units. However, this is still less than one third of the record level from 2011. Recovery was much speedier on the Russian market for heavy-duty commercial vehicles, which had also sustained marked losses in recent years, and here sales added nearly 50%.