Operators need to plan now for the switch from Euro 3 to Euro 4, according to Stuart Hunt, managing director of DAF Trucks in the UK.
The big issue for 2006, was whether operators would leave it too late to order Euro 3s, he said. “All I can do is to encourage every operator, big or small, to start planning now for digital tachographs and Euro 3 run out and Euro 4 run in.” Hunt concluded by outlining that what he sought most for 2006, was consistency. In terms of demand, he suspected that there would be a lull next year after the introduction of Euro 4. He said: “If we learn from history in the truck business, it is probably evolution rather than revolution that has won the day.”
The UK market reached 59,000 units in 2005 making it the highest for 15 years. This compared well with figures from last year which showed around 51,000 units. He said that statistically, the fastest growth has been with the lightest trucks, those weighing between 3.5 to six tonnes, though he also pointed out that “in reality the overwhelming majority of that growth has been in ‘Transit-type’ minibus chassis – so not really what you’d categorise as a truck at all.”
Demand for commercial vehicles over six tonnes has seen a growth of three per cent over last year to a figure of about 53,000.
“Our industry is in a good state and while we have entered a period of some uncertainty, we start from a very high level. The true truck market has been remarkably stable for the past ten years and I still see that continuing into next year despite some short term hesitancy.” Over the past year, the demand for 7.5 tonne trucks remains steady, with no signs at all of a migration to 10, 12 or 14 tonnes.
At 18 tonnes, Hunt described the picture as “win some/lose some”, there being a slight growth on last year. Hunt commented that the “bread and butter” of local haulage is increasingly becoming the 26 tonne 6×2, which has shown another year of strong growth to the highest annual level on record. This was due to industry striving for efficiency, the right margins and the better logistics planning which drives higher load utilisation.