Heavy truck sales are expected to surge at least 10% in 2013 compared with this year as operators delay buying Euro-6 vehicles, which will replace Euro-5 in 2014.
The predicted spike in Euro-5 sales in 2013 is expected to result in longer lead times for new trucks. One operator, Andrew Spence-Wolrich, general manager of bulk specialist Hargreaves Transport, has been told he must order Euro-5 trucks by March 2013 to be sure of getting them.
Truck makers MT spoke to have differing views on the Euro-6 effect, but one common message was to plan ahead to ensure operators get the Euro-5 trucks they want in 2013.
Martin Hay, UK truck sales director for Scania, says: “As we expect to see a considerable upturn in demand ahead of Euro-6 coming into force, we suggest customers wishing to re-equip with Euro-5 vehicles ahead of the deadline order early to avoid disappointment. This advice applies to all models in our weight sectors.”
A Mercedes-Benz spokesman says: “We will not be processing orders for Euro-5 vehicles after the end of July/beginning of August. From then, orders will be Euro-6 vehicles. We think the message should be ‘plan ahead and order early’.”
Daf marketing director Tony Pain is also advising operators to plan now to avoid missing out on the last of the Euro-5 stock. “We do not have a cut- off date for ordering Euro-5 but, based on our usual lead times of three to four months, if orders aren’t placed by June next year, they won’t be met. We will build more trucks next year but it is difficult to say how many.”
Iveco product director Martin Flach is even more cautious. “Production slots are finite and when they are all filled, we will have to close Euro-5 order intake,” he says.
“The March date seems to be early but if the market wakes up to buying Euro-5 we could find that production is sold out before that. Even if I am optimistic, I can’t see much Euro-5 availability after May.”
MAN UK chief executive Des Evans agrees that operators need to forward plan, but pledges MAN will have ample stocks of Euro-5 trucks to meet demand. “I have 5,000 allocated to the UK market in 2013,” he says.
“MAN lead times from receipt of order are eight to 12 weeks for registrations in 2012. For 2013 orders, we do not expect lead times to be extended as we have secured sufficient allocation of production to achieve our planned sales.”
MAN will also build Euro-5 vehicles without orders and register them for its rental fleet to ensure it has stocks of used Euro-5s well into 2014.
Isuzu Truck expects to have Euro-5 vehicles available to the end of 2013. Marketing director Keith Child says: “We are telling customers we will be selling Euro-5 vehicles up to the 31 December 2013 deadline, with perhaps a few [still available] in 2014 depending on the derogation rules.”
The UK has secured a derogation allowing Euro-5 trucks built before 1 October 2013 to be stockpiled and registered up until 31 December 2014. MAN expects to build about 1,200 trucks ahead of the
1 October deadline for registration in 2014 for specific customers who have placed orders.
Child is predicting Isuzu Truck will see a 20% increase in sales in 2013 compared with 2012, and that sales in 2014 will be similar to 2013. “We’re not expecting a major price increase from Japan for a Euro-6 vehicle over the Euro-5 equivalent, although there will probably be a slight payload disadvantage,” he says.
“Consequently, our predictions are that we expect our volumes for 2014 to be the same as 2013; in other words a flat year.”
Evans predicts that the UK market for trucks over 6 tonnes will surge to 42,000 or 43,000 units in 2013 before falling back to 34,000 to 35,000 in 2014, compared with 37,410 units sold in 2011.
Pain adds: “There will be an uplift in sales in 2013 and I wish we knew how big. It will be significant but may come late. We expect a market of 40,000 this year and previous experience with Euro-4 suggests there will be a 10% uplift in 2013 followed by a 15% drop in 2014 compared with 2012.”
The last time lead times shot up to a year or more, before the recession of 2008, the problem was inflated by operators placing multiple orders with various manufacturers and then cancelling before the trucks were delivered.
Pain does not expect a similar distortion in 2013 but is concerned that too many operators will wait until they have seen the Euro-6 trucks on show at the IAA show in Hannover next month before crystallising their plans.
“We are not expecting a disaster but the later operators leave it, the harder it will be for manufacturers to plan,” he says.
Although it is expected that fleet operators will want one or two Euro-6 trucks on the fleet to compare them with Euro-5, Iveco’s Flach does not expect many operators to buy substantial numbers of Euro-6 until they have no choice.
“Euro-6 sales before the deadline will be minimal as the Reduced Pollution Certificate is insufficient to encourage early adoption,” he says. “Only customers with a strong environmental commitment and budget will be taking Euro-6 before they have to.”
■ Commercial Motor Live, which takes place at the Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedford on 3-4 October, will give attendees the opportunity to ride and drive in the latest vehicles from Isuzu, Mercedes-Benz, Renault Trucks, Scania