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01 Oct 2008

Credit crunch, what credit crunch BRICs prop up CV makers

Commercial vehicle makers took a bullish stance at the Hanover Commercial Vehicle Show despite the credit crunch, with most predicting a rise in sales in 2008 rather than a fall.

While market conditions may be tough in Europe, they remain strong in Emerging Markets - and it's those areas - especially the BRIC markets of Brazil, Russia, India and China, that are driving sales of vans and trucks.

Volkswagen reported sales up 9.3 percent in the first eight months of 2008 against the same period in 2007, with Eastern Europe and Latin America driving the rise. "In the booming Eastern European markets, we managed to grow our delivery numbers by nearly 30 percent," said Stephan Schaller, CEO of V W Commercial Vehicles. "In Russia alone we sold 87 percent more vehicles than in the previous year."

The picture was just as rosy in South America, where deliveries of light and heavy commercial vehicles increased by around 25 percent. Roberto Cortes, president of VW truck and bus, said: "Considering the favourable economy in Latin America, we expect to end 2008 with a sales volume close to 60,000 trucks and buses, representing a new all-time record."

Iveco CEO Paolo Monferino reported a similar pattern: "We foresee a contraction in Western European demand during the second half of 2008, but this will be partially offset by the growth in opther markets, in particular Latin America and Eastern Europe."

And Daimler's head of trucks Andreas Renschler reported group CV sales up 3 percent in the year to the end of August, thanks to 17 percent growth in Latin America; 14 percent in Eastern Europe; 11 percent in the Middle East and "an astounding 60 percent" growth in Southeast Asia.

"We continue to systematically expand our presence in the world's growth markets," he added. "In Brazil we're investing more than 600m Euros to increase our production capacity by 25 percent. We've also launched production of trucks and buses in India and we're preparing for market entry in China and Russia as well."


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