UK truck sales could fall to somewhere between 35 and 40,000, according to Stuart Hunt, managing director of DAF Trucks. In the 11 months to the end of November this year registrations were over 53,000.
Hunt said: “What I can say is that 2009 is unlikely to be a vintage year in the truck building business. Today we’re looking at a market of somewhere between 35 and 40,000 and 2010 (I hope) will be slightly better. But I fear the market won’t return to the average of the last decade until 2011.
“And it’s that stark outlook that is the backdrop to the decision by all truck makers to reduce production levels, layoff people and not to exhibit at the CV Show next year.”
Hunt points out that elsewhere in Europe the downturn is also marked, with countries like Spain and Ireland being the worst effected. Some countries such as Holland and Germany were holding up comparatively better. But there’s no doubt that we are looking at a pan European downturn.
And he highlighted some important pieces of legislation for the road transport industry.
“First is the blind spot mirror regulations which will require that all trucks registered from January 2000 will require these to be retrofitted by 31 March (if they don’t have them already).
“Also, from 29 April we will see the first voluntary arrangement for Whole Vehicle Type Approval, a piece of legislation which will have a long term impact on the UK bodybuilding industry before it becomes mandatory from 2012.
“And finally, we will see the end of the Reduced Pollution Certificate on September 30 as Euro 5 legislation becomes mandatory. The RPC can be worth up to £500 per year for the life of the truck (if it’s registered before September 30th). If the same truck is registered the day after it’s worth absolutely nothing. That’ll mean two things: one there will be a registration spike in the last week of September 2009 and two it could lead to a problem for manufacturers who have large stocks of Euro 4 trucks.”
DAF, Hunt pointed out, should not have a problem as “over 80 per cent of our heavy trucks are already at Euro 5 level”.
“So our Industry faces a difficult economic environment and a bumpy ride in the months ahead. But I take pride (and some comfort) that as DAF enters these uncharted waters we do so with a robust dealer network, a strong sense of business partnership with our dealers and customers, together with outstanding product quality and customer responsiveness,” he said.