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European CV market grows in May

27 June 2018 Ian Fletcher

IHS Markit perspective

  • Implications: CV registrations have continued to grow in the EU during May, up 3.3% y/y, although this has been driven by LCVs, as MHCVs fell.
  • Outlook: IHS Markit expects some slowdown in CV registrations in the EU during the second half of 2018 thanks to marginal gains in both the LCV and MHCV categories.

Registrations of commercial vehicles (CVs) in the European Union (EU) have grown by 3.3% year on year (y/y) during May, according to the latest data published by the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA). The number of light commercial vehicles (LCVs) under 3.5 tonnes, medium and heavy commercial vehicles (MHCVs) and medium and heavy buses and coaches over 3.5 tonnes registered increased from 205,445 units in May 2017 to 212,122 units. This has helped it maintain momentum during the year to date (YTD), and as a result, total CV registrations during the first five months of the year have increased by 4.1% y/y to 1,034,983 units.

The performance was weaker in the European Free Trade Agreement (EFTA) region after a strong April. In a region that comprises Iceland, Norway and Switzerland, registrations have slipped by 4.1% y/y during May to 7,504 units. Nevertheless, growth rates during the YTD remain in positive territory, with an increase of 2.2% y/y taking total volumes for this period to 34,515 units.

The LCV category, which makes up around 80% of CV demand in the EU, was the driver of growth in May as it gained by 4.3% y/y to 176,545 units. Four of the five largest markets in the region have contributed to the growth this month. The largest market this month has again been France where 37,402 units were registered, a gain of 1.8% y/y. The second largest was the UK, where demand for this type of vehicle has remained relatively resilient in recent months, growing by 2.4% y/y. Germany (+2.0% y/y) and Spain (+9.3% y/y) also increased. However, the exception to growth in this group was Italy, where registrations have declined by 2.0% y/y. This may well be down to the withdrawal of budgetary measures.

Elsewhere in the EU, the situation has been even more positive in some markets with growth in the double-digit percentage range. These include Poland, Portugal, Ireland, Romania and Sweden, the latter having increased by 32.7% y/y as customers race to beat a new bonus-malus taxation system that is being introduced at the beginning of July. There were more modest, but still important gains in the Netherlands, Austria, Denmark and others. There were some exceptions though, with Belgium flat and Slovenia and Greece retreating.

LCV sales recorded this month have maintained the growth rate in the YTD, which currently stands at 4.3% y/y to 857,431 units.

MHCV sales in the EU have not fared so well during May. Registrations of trucks with a GVW over 3.5 tonnes slid by 2.2% y/y to 32,170 units, while those HCVs with a GVW over 16 tonnes declined by 2.4% y/y to 26,212 units. The leading market in the MHCV category, Germany, fell 6.5% y/y to 7,852 units in May, while a 14.4% y/y decline in the UK saw France overtake it to become the second largest market for this type, after growth of 3.1% y/y. Growth was recorded among the other large MHCV markets this month, with rises of 1.6% y/y in Poland, 15% y/y in Italy, 2.0% y/y in Spain and 9.8% y/y in Netherlands. There were softer performances elsewhere though as well with Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Sweden falling within this group.

Nevertheless, registrations remain up during the YTD, with the MHCV category gaining by 3.5% y/y to 160,793 units. In the HCV category, registrations have increased by 4.2% y/y to 132,188 units.

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The above article is an excerpt from AutoIntelligence Daily by IHS Markit. AutoIntelligence Daily provides same-day analysis of automotive news, events and trends. Get a free trial.

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