Operators appear to be ramping-up their Euro-5 purchasing activity ahead of the Euro-6 emissions deadline, a leading financing and vehicle leasing company has said.

Despite the poor sales performance in the first two months of 2013, CVS has claimed there are now signs that operators are starting to loosen the purse strings.

“With the poor retail market around Christmas causing operators difficulties, it has been quite bleak,” said Richard Gosling, sales director at CVS.

“However activity has been more positive over the last two weeks for us as we have quoted for almost 700 trucks on various contracts,” he said.

Gosling said these were all Euro-5 vehicles, indicating that the expected surge in Euro-5 sales ahead of the switch to Euro-6 in 2014 may at last be arriving.

slow start

Despite this, the latest data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT)  shows registrations of new trucks of 6.0 tonnes GVW and above in February were 16.7% down on the same month last year.

Although better than January, when registrations were 24.9% down, this is by no means the upturn in the truck market forecasted for 2013 and it leaves the market 21.5% behind last year’s total at this point.

Contrasting this with an 11.9% increase in the number of vans up to and including 3.5 tonnes GVW registered so far, the SMMT’s commercial vehicle manager Nigel Base said the decline in the truck market could be because “owners and operators adjust buying decisions ahead of key landmarks in the year -  this month's Budget, the CV Show in April and introduction of Euro 6 legislation at the end of the year".

February was one of the rare months when runaway market leader Daf Trucks turned in weak figures, with its month’s registrations down by 37.4%, more than twice the decline in the truck market as a whole.

But these are just one month’s figures and still leave Daf with a commanding market share of 26.1% for the year so far.

February was even worse for Mercedes-Benz, which saw its truck registrations dive by 53.7%. Its market share for the first two months has slid from 19.8% in 2012 to 11.8% this year, demoting the company from second to fourth place.

Mercedes has been displaced by Scania and MAN, both of whom have boosted their market shares in 2013.

Scania now holds second place in the 6 tonnes GVW-plus truck market with a share of 16.2%, followed by MAN with 13.5%.