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European van sales plummet by a third in 2009

26 January 2010, 11:10 CET
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(BRUSSELS) - Sales of new vans, trucks and coaches across Europe plummeted by almost one third last year, with cash-for-clunkers schemes mainly applied to household cars, the European automakers body said on Tuesday.

New commercial vehicle registrations for 2009 were down 32.4 percent compared to 2008, with sales hit in every country and every sector for which data was available. The total registered was 1,706,996.

The drop in December was just 10.6 percent, showing an easing in the fall in demand for vans over previous months.

Spain, for the second successive month, and France, in a first there, were the only countries to show a rise in van sales in December, with the downturn particularly heavy in eastern Europe.

Latvia and the Czech Republic recorded 77.7 percent and 67.6 percent annual falls respectively.

France and Italy were the least hard hit.

The heavy trucks segment saw a 47.9 percent fall in sales compared to 2009, with 164,645 total units registered. Spain's market collapsed by two thirds.

Light trucks were also down by two thirds across the board, but bus or coach sales slipped by just under 20 percent with a total of 39,311 registrations.

France was the only important market to post growth here, at 12.4 percent.

New registrations for cars were only down 1.6 percent compared to 2008, the Brussels-based European Automobile Manufacturers' Association said earlier this month.

That marked a significant improvement over 2008, when new car sales plunged 7.8 percent, the worst drop since 1993.

In total, 14.48 million new cars were registered last year in the 28 nations covered by the data -- 25 European Union members, not counting Cyprus and Malta, plus free-trade partners Iceland, Norway and Switzerland.

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