Europe’s market for commercial vehicles has contracted for the six month running. New registrations in October 2008 totalled 204,118 units, a decline of 17% compared to the same month last year.

According to the figures from automotive industry association ACEA both Western Europe (-17.5%) and the new EU Member States (-13.3%) contributed to the downturn.

The European market has now contracted for sixth consecutive months, resulting in a 5.3% decline over the ten first months of 2008. A cumulative 5.9% growth in the new EU Member States could not compensate for a 6.6% drop in Western Europe.

The ACEA figures showed that the new light commercial vehicles up to 3.5t  (vans) segment was most affected by the downturn, falling by 18.3% compared to October last year. In Western Europe, 144,156 new vehicles were registered, 19.3% down on last year’s result. While the French market, the biggest for this segment, remained fairly stable (-0.9%) and the German moderately decreased (-6.7%), the Italian (-20.2%), the British (-35.5%) and the Spanish (-52.0%) markets recorded a more marked decline.

In the new EU Member States, demand for new vehicles in this category dropped by 10.0%. Poland (-9.0%) and the Czech Republic (-18.6%) remained the largest markets of the region, followed by Romania (-8.9%), Slovakia (+6.6%) and Hungary (+10.2%).

From January to October, the market contracted by 6.6% in Europe, resulting from an 8.5% drop in Western Europe and a 13.3% cumulative growth in the new EU Member States.

In the heavy trucks category (heavy commercial vehicles over 16t), registrations of vehicles decreased in Europe in October (-14.4%), with a decline both in Western Europe (-12.3%) and in the new EU Member States (-26.3%).

With the exception of France (+3.2%) and the Netherlands (+9.9%), all major markets in this segment contracted.

The cumulative figures ten months into the year show a 1.5% growth as the Western Europe results (+4.0%) counterbalanced the 10.9% downturn in the new EU Member States.

In the trucks category (commercial vehicles over 3.5t), October registrations fell by 13.8% in Europe. In Western Europe, the number of new registrations declined by 10.5%, with a decrease in Spain (-50.0%), Italy (-20.2%), the UK (-9.4%) and Germany (-3.2%). France and the Netherlands increased registrations by 5.6% and 18.0% respectively. In the new EU Member States, the Polish market was down 36.1%.

Ten months into the year, new registrations slipped by 0.6% in Europe as they were up 2.6% in Western Europe and contracted by 16.3% in the new EU Member States. Only Spain faced an important downturn (-25.2%) while the Italian market slightly shrank and the Dutch (+24.6%), the British (+18.2%), the French (+13.2%) and the German (+2.0%) posted growths. Poland improved its performance by 1.0% compared to last year.

Demand in the buses and coaches segment increased 13.9% in October and 8.5% for the first ten months of the year. With the exception of Greece (-7.7%), Spain (-9.3%), the UK (-11.0%) and the Netherlands (-17.3%), all markets posted growth from January to October.