Looking around the world at the global truck market during Covid can be a little confusing. The situation looks like it will remain unstable for some time to come, as the industry will need trucks as economies recover, but lockdowns will limit all activities, including truck sales.
In Brazil, where some of the worst Covid infection rates have been seen the truck market has showed an important recovery, with 10,759 units sold in March, an increase of 67.1 per cent over March 2020. However, with the worsening of Covid cases in Brazil, all truck manufacturers stopped production for 15 days. There are still doubts regarding the supply of parts, mainly electronic components.
Another country hit hard by Covid is South Africa, where heavy trucks and buses sales were up 35.2 per cent in March 2021 compared to the corresponding month last year. according to Charleen Clarke of Focus on Transport magazine.
Bhushan Mhapralkar reports from India, where the second wave of Covid seems to be spiking like no other infection ever has. He understates, the commercial vehicle industry figures are nothing to write home about. In March 2021, 67,372 commercial vehicles were registered, marking a 42.2 per cent decline as against the registration of 116,559 vehicles in March 2020. The source of these figures is the Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations, India.
Meanwhile in Europe, the changes are more dramatic with Poland registering truck sales over 16 tonnes from January to March at 6750, which represents a 66.4 per cent increase over the same period in 2020. There has also been a steep rise in demand for second hand imported trucks in the same period.
The news from Spain shows an economy waking up from a deep recession with January to March seeing 4137 trucks over 16 tonnes sold, up an encouraging 30.9 per cent on the same period in 2020, with a massive uptick in March itself. In Portugal sales of heavy vehicles totalled 1,209 vehicles sold, which corresponds to an increase of 18.2 per cent over last year. Florian Engel, Editor for 1TRUCK, in Austria records a 22 per cent increase in sales of prime movers in 2021, compared to 2020.
Italy compares the trucks ales in 2021 with those of 2019 (March 2020 was chaotic in the country). Trucks over 16 tonnes are up 14.7 per cent in March 2021 compared to two years ago.
Bulgaria has achieved a 13 per cent increase in the new registration of heavy trucks over 12 tonnes for the first quarter of 2021, over 2020’s numbers. According to Snejina Badjeva, from Bulgarian Transport Press, this comes despite the third wave of coronavirus spread, which led to a new stagnation in European transport due to strict border controls and covid tests.
Reporting on the Danish market, Rasmus Haargaard, Editor in Chief at the Lastbil Magazine, tells us sales for all trucks over 3.5 tonnes in January-March 2021 was 1,226, which is 9.4 per cent up on the same period last year. Meanwhile in the Czech truck market the trend is upwards, but not dramatic, with 1813 trucks sold in the first quarter last year and 1972 this year. Similarly, Switzerland reports the sale of 901 trucks over 3.5 tonnes in March, which is 7.7 per cent up on last year.
Last year saw heavy trucks selling quite well in Sweden at 4960 for the year, following a record year in 2019 at 6652. So far in 2021, 1372 trucks have been sold in the first quarter, compared to 1346 in the same period in 2020.
In the past, truck sales have proved to be a good indicator of economic performance, but the global truck market during Covid is influenced by anti-coronavirus performance, economic strength and lockdown status.