Global commercial registrations down 7% in 1Q

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The global commercial vehicle market declined 7 percent during the first quarter of 2012 compared with the same period in 2011, according to an analysis released Monday, July 16, by Polk, a provider of data-driven solutions for the commercial vehicle industry. The global decline in heavy commercial vehicles mirrors the soft economic environment in select countries, according to Polk.

“It’s increasingly important for commercial vehicle manufacturers and suppliers to evaluate the global market from a larger perspective as they expand their businesses in other regions,” said Gary Meteer, account director for commercial vehicle solutions at Polk. “We’ve seen increased interest from customers in global statistics and analysis on the state of the market in regions around the world.”

Polk estimates global registrations based on an assessment of the top 30 countries that account for about 98 percent of the total global market for heavy commercial vehicles, traditionally defined as 3.5 metric tons or greater.

China and India have represented the two largest markets for heavy commercial vehicle registrations since 2010 and accounted for nearly 58 percent of the global market during the first quarter of 2012. However, first-quarter performance showed China registrations decreased 18.2 percent from first-quarter 2011 volumes, while the commercial vehicle market in India grew 5.1 percent since the first quarter of 2011.

A closer look at these two markets identified several trends during the quarter, Polk said. First, standard rigid trucks were the most registered heavy commercial vehicles in both markets. Specifically in China, nearly 6.2 percent of the new heavy commercial vehicles were classified as buses or van-derived buses, while 15.4 percent in India were classified in this manner. Also, tractors in China accounted for about 14 percent of new sales during the first quarter of 2012 versus just 2.6 percent in India.

Based on Polk’s analysis, JAC Motors was the leading manufacturer of heavy commercial vehicles in China during the first quarter of 2012, with 15.2 percent of the market, while Dongfeng followed closely with 15.2 percent.

In India, Tata Motors was the leading manufacturer of heavy commercial vehicles, with 59 percent share, followed by Ashok Leyland with 21.5 percent share of the market.

For light commercial vehicles, traditionally defined as 3.5 metric tons or less, new retail registrations were down 5.6 percent in China compared to the first quarter of 2011. In India, light commercial vehicle registrations were up 33.3 percent over the same period last year.

In markets with more than 10,000 new retail registrations during the first quarter of this year, the largest year-over-year increases were achieved in Canada, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States, while South Korea and Germany both experienced declines. The segment’s performance in Brazil remained steady with 2011 first-quarter levels.