Strong growth in North America, mixed market conditions in Europe

In the first two months of 2012, the heavy-duty truck market in Europe 29 (EU, Norway and Switzerland) reached 35,000 trucks, down by 3% compared to 2011. The demand on the European truck market varies significantly between different regions. While parts of Southern Europe are struggling, regions in Northern and Eastern Europe show strong and stable demand. With order intake in Europe currently running on the same level as last year and an expectation of a higher demand towards the end of the year, coming from replacing older trucks ahead of the new emission regulation, the total market for heavy-duty trucks in Europe 29 is expected to reach 230,000 trucks (previous forecast 220,000).

During the first quarter of 2012, the total market for heavy-duty trucks in North America increased 42% to 58,234 vehicles, compared with 40,889 in 2011. The need to replace the industry’s aging highway vehicle population continues to drive demand, and good sales of vocational trucks to segments related to the oil and gas industries have helped to mitigate continued weak demand from other segments of the vocational truck market. In 2012, the total market for heavy-duty trucks in North America is expected to grow to a level of about 250,000 trucks (unchanged forecast).

During the first quarter of 2012, the total Latin American market for heavy-duty trucks decreased by 4% from 33,374 to 31,942 vehicles, and the total Brazilian market decreased by 7% from 25,571 to 23,743 in comparison to the first quarter 2011. The truck operation in Brazil was negatively impacted by the implementation of new emissions regulations which require more expensive Euro V technology on trucks produced as of January 1, 2012. Some competitors stockpiled Euro III models in advance of this transition, so demand for the new Euro V models will continue to be negatively affected into the second quarter. The Brazilian government recently announced financing incentives to stimulate commercial vehicle sales. The total Brazilian market for heavy-duty trucks is expected to decline and reach a level of about 105,000 trucks in 2012 (unchanged forecast).

In Japan the total market for heavy-duty trucks rose by 45% in the first quarter of 2012 to 9,840 vehicles (6,770). Following the earthquake and the subsequent tsunami that hit Japan in March, 2011 there is a substantial need for reconstruction. For 2012, the total Japanese market for heavy-duty trucks is expected to increase to about 30,000 trucks (unchanged forecast).

In India, the market for heavy-duty trucks through February 2012 declined by 2% to 69,203 trucks (70,762).