The European Council for Motor Trade and Repairs (CECRA), is happy with the second edition of its Truck Dealer’s Day, organised in Brussels on 24 September. The conference, featuring ‘the future of distribution’ as a central theme, turned out to be an interesting event with a high number of participants from all over Europe.
At the start of the conference, Richard Moraud, president of the Commercial and Industrial (CIV) Division, briefly highlighted some of the recent achievements of the division, one of which is the special edition of CECRA’s newsletter, which is dedicated exclusively to truck dealers and which collects registration figures per brand and per country in Europe.
Based on the most recent figures received from CECRA’s members, the first six months of 2014 saw a slight increase in the market overall. However, there is a large difference between countries. From January to June, France (-7,45%) and the UK (-22,91%) faced a downturn, while demand was up in Germany (+10,94%) and Spain (+35,58%). Volvo has been gaining ground in the first six months of 2014, increasing its market share by 24,47% compared to 2013, although Mercedes still has the largest market share this year, with 26,10% of all registrations overall.
In his presentation, Aad Verkade from BOVAG explained the impact of quantitative and qualitative developments in truck distribution on the staff which will still be necessary by 2025. Strong statements were made, including that international transport has been taken over by drivers from Eastern Europe and that truck dealers are faced with a reduced need for maintenance and lower margins. The use of telematics focused on cost reduction was also mentioned and important questions were raised: Who is the owner of the data? Is it the user or supplier? Who analyses the data? Is it the dealer or importer? And finally, how can data analysis be made profitable for dealers?
Frederik Rasmussen from the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE) explained the recent revision of the Directive on the weights and dimensions of trucks.
In the presentation given on behalf of the Stoneridge company, the focus was on the future of the tachograph in view of the development of telematics and on the recent legislative changes in this field.
Michael Nielsen, a representative of the International Road Transport Union, spoke about new technologies that will make road transport even more sustainable and efficient. He mentioned that his association was in favour of road transport innovative solutions, as long as they respond to real needs of the market and are used on a voluntary basis.
The conference finished with a panel discussion, moderated by CECRA’s Director General, Bernard Lycke, during which Jean-Pierre Bellec, aftermarket director of Volvo France gave his opinion as a representative of the manufacturers about the aforementioned topics. CECRA also reiterated that, during the first edition of the Truck Dealer’s Day in 2012, the keynote speaker Keir Fitch, Deputy Head of Cabinet for Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas, presented his views on the White Paper strategy. This document contained 40 initiatives, not all of which were supported by CECRA. In particular, the goal of generally shifting road freight over 300 km to other modes was not accepted by CECRA, which was in favour of a technologically neutral policy approach. Frederik Rasmussen answered that there will be a review of the White Paper which indeed was considered by several stakeholders as not fully recognising the importance of road transport. In addition, the 300 km rule will probably be deleted. A more positive approach to road transport should therefore be promoted in the new text, which was welcomed by all participants.
The key conclusion of the day was that dealers will have to adapt to face the challenges of the future, which not only concern truck design and technologies such as tachographs and various telematics systems, but also new business models that could be necessary in the future. A well prepared dealer will be in a better position to face these new challenges.