Small increase for heavy trucks seen in 1998
European truckmakers expect a slight rise in sales in 1998. Last year, sales of commercial vehicles over 16 tonnes gross vehicle weight rose 1 percent to 170,000.
Forecasts made by executives here ranged from 175,000 to 180,000 in 1998.
'But I don't see much more growth in the near future,' said Nills Arthur, vice president for European and international operations at Volvo Truck, Europe's second-largest truckmaker.
Light commercial vehicles are expected to grow in popularity because of new restrictions in the use of medium and heavy trucks in inner cities. Only Mercedes-Benz, Iveco and Renault Vehicules Industrieles offer light vans as part of a full range of commercial vehicles.
Daf sales rise
Daf Trucks said its worldwide sales of commercial vehicles increased 41 percent to 32,350 in 1997.
The new 95XF heavy-duty truck contributed most to the increase. Daf will raise daily production of all models at its Eindhoven plant in the Netherlands from 65 last year to 110 in 1998. Daf has been owned by Paccar of the USA since 1996.
Fewer truck shows proposed
Truckmakers want to cut the number and frequency of commercial vehicle shows in Europe.
Biennial shows in Paris, Hannover, Amsterdam and Brussels are sanctioned by OICA, the governing body for international motor shows. But ACEA, the European vehicle manufacturers' association, has proposed holding international shows only in Amsterdam and Hannover. At a meeting in Amsterdam, ACEA also proposed a four-year show cycle instead of two as a way to reduce costs.
Fiat-owned Iveco was the only European truckmaker that did not exhibit in Amsterdam. Iveco said it stayed away for cost reasons.
Daimler launches Atego medium
Mercedes-Benz's medium-size Atego truck made its world debut. It replaces the Ecoliner, which has been in production for 14 years.
'We did not feel the need to replace the Ecoliner because of its sales success,' said Kurt Lauk, board member at Daimler-Benz for commercial vehicles. 'But when our rivals came up with new concepts, we decided to develop even more advanced and innovative products.'
Traffic minister asks for trucks that don't tip over
Dutch traffic and transportation minister Anne Marie Jorritsma has asked truckmakers to develop more stable trucks. She said modern trucks increasingly tend to tip over and cause traffic disruptions.