As noted elsewhere in these pages, the truck industry had long been expecting 2020 to be a bad year, but its fate now lies firmly in the hands of the coronavirus, and May truck registration data published by the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) makes for difficult reading. Commercial vehicle registrations across the European Union (EU) decreased by 44.4% in May, with the sharpest declines felt in Spain, down 59% year-on-year (y-o-y) and Germany (-47.9%). The impact of the pandemic is all too plain to see: a ‘routine’ cyclical downturn would have produced far less dramatic numbers.
Nonetheless, the May registrations were a slight improvement over the previous month as markets began relaxing lockdown restrictions. New heavy truck (>16t) registrations across the EU fell by 59.7% to 11,783 units in May, and by 41.1% y-o-y to 76,232 in the first five months of the year. This included a 41.9% decline in France, followed by Germany (-36.8%), Spain (-32.1%) and Italy (-29%). May also saw EU demand for new medium and heavy (MHCV, > 3.5t) trucks shrink by 56.9%, the 11th consecutive month of decline, and a fall of 38.6% y-o-y in the first five months to 95,174 units, with France (-41%), Germany (-33.4%), Spain (-30.9%) and Italy (-29.4%) hardest hit.
The combined impact of COVID-19 and a long-anticipated cyclical downturn in the truck industry have been a major setback for Volvo Trucks in 2020. The same is true for all truck makers, but for Volvo, this will mean a reduction in consolidated sales in 2020