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Big diesels to dominate Europe’s CV market

Europe’s truck market will be dominated by big diesel trucks this year, according to the latest predictions by Frost & Sullivan. So far, truck sales in the region are off to a strong start. ACEA data shows that total new commercial vehicle registrations in Europe grew 13.7% year-on-year in February to 125,241 units, marking the … Continued

Europe’s truck market will be dominated by big diesel trucks this year, according to the latest predictions by Frost & Sullivan. So far, truck sales in the region are off to a strong start. ACEA data shows that total new commercial vehicle registrations in Europe grew 13.7% year-on-year in February to 125,241 units, marking the sixth consecutive month of growth. All segments reported continued improvements: LCVs/vans (+13.2%), HCV +16t (+19.7%), CVs +3.5t (+17.1%) and buses/coaches +3.5t  (+8.5%). All the main markets recorded steady growth last month: Spain (+49.2%), Germany (+19.6%), the UK (+16.3) Italy (+13.3%) and France (+2.9%). For the first two months, EU-wide CV sales remained up 8.7% at 257,509 units.

Looking at just medium and heavy CVs, Frost & Sullivan expects the European market to end the year up 2.7%. HCVs are expected to dominate the market with a 75% share, leaving MCVs with 25%. Europe has the largest concentration of heavy CVs of all the major regions in the world. Both segments will show moderate growth in 2014, with HCVs expected to rise 2.6% and MCVs 3.1%.

CV-registrations-EU

Market shaping trends

Frost & Sullivan’s Sandeep Kar, Global Director of Automotive & Transportation Research, took a closer look at the factors influencing the market in the recent Automotive World Megatrends webinar ‘Outlook for the global medium-heavy duty truck market in 2014‘. Among these trends was a heavy reliance on road transport. Europe’s transport industry is dominated by road transport, which is expected to account for about 70% of all domestic freight movement (pipelines, air, water-ways, rail and road) in the EU 27 this year. Road transport will likely account for about 30% of total domestic freight movement in North America and short of 40% in the Asia Pacific.

In terms of powertrain developments this year, diesel is expected to remain the dominant engine type in Europe’s trucking industry this year, with F&S predicting a stable market share of 99.1%. Downsizing will remain a major theme in the region, as engine sizes continue to decrease while power density increases. F&S expects to see a drop in average engine size for heavy trucks in Europe from 12.6-litres to 12.1-litres by 2018.

Notably, though, there will be an uptake in natural gas and hybrid powertrains in Europe this year, with predicted market shares of 0.7% and 0.2%, respectively. Kar notes that while most truck OEMs are at various stages of introducing trucks powered by natural gas, there remains uncertainty regarding adoption potential. In fact, natural gas is one of the leading issues of concern among truck executives globally, with Kar noting: “From a powertrain perspective, most executives are contemplating whether natural gas as a fuel is really a trend or a fad.”

Euro 6 impact

The transition to Euro 6 has also had an impact on market developments. Europe launched the new emission standard on 31 December 2013, and those companies wishing to get in a cheaper Euro 5 model rushed to place orders last year. This pulled ahead a certain amount of sales from this year, however. Mike Hawes, Chief Executive of the UK’s Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, commented on the standard’s impact on February CV registrations in the country: “Registrations of trucks over six tonnes continued to decline as the market adjusts to new Euro-6 legislation. We anticipate this rebalancing act to be a factor for some months yet while van volumes should remain on an upward trend.”

Anil Valsan, Global Lead Analyst at EY, also commented on the role Euro 6 will likely play on the industry’s development this year, telling Automotive World: “In terms of the M/HCV sector, sales in Q1 are likely to be affected by the advanced purchasing of vehicles by fleets ahead of the new emission regulations.”

Megan Lampinen

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