Volvo truck shipments fall, orders still weak

Business Materials 18 November 2008 12:43 (UTC +04:00)

World number two truck maker Volvo (VOLVb.ST: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) on Tuesday posted a 12 percent year-on-year fall in October deliveries of its trucks and said the order trend in its key European market remained weak, reproted Reuters.

Volvo, which sells trucks under brands such as Renault, Nissan Diesel and Mack as well as its own name, said in a statement deliveries in its biggest market, Europe, fell 28 percent while they fell 26 percent in North America.

Truck makers across Europe have seen demand evaporate in recent months as the worsening global financial crisis has pushed key export markets into recession and starved customers of access to the credit necessary to finance truck purchases.

The downturn has been dramatic with the market coming off years of robust demand and Volvo provided grim evidence of the decline last month as it, after adjusting its books for uncertain orders and cancellations, posted a 100 percent fall in orders in Europe in the third quarter.

The company, which in recent weeks has announced it is cutting thousands of jobs, said European customers remained "very cautious" due to the broader economic uncertainty.

"In Europe, the weak order intake trend from the third quarter continues with net order intake being negatively affected by a further weakening inflow of new orders as well as a substantial level of cancellations of previously placed orders," the company said.

In North America the heavy-duty market, overshadowed by the financial turmoil, has yet to regain its footing after a sharp decline in demand at the start of 2007, the hangover from a buying spree ahead of new green engine rules.

"Volvo Trucks and Renault Trucks are responding to the weakening demand by reducing production rates in the fourth quarter by taking stop days and stop weeks in the European manufacturing system, in particular in December," the company said.