Leisure fillip for light truck sales

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EUROPEAN sales of light trucks will recover this year owing to increased demand for 4x4 off-road leisure vehicles and multi-purpose vehicles such as the Renault Espace, a report forecasts today, writes Michael Harrison.

According to DRI, the motor industry analysts, the market will rise by 5 per cent to 1.7 million after falling 5.2 per cent last year.

The recovery will be mainly due to strong demand in Germany where light truck sales are forecast to rise by 70,000 to 426,000. However, DRI does not predict any upturn in the UK, France or Italy until 1993.

Heading the growth in sales of 4x4 vehicles will be the Vauxhall- Opel Frontera which is produced at Luton, followed by the Spanish- built Nissan/Ford 4x4. Demand for these vehicles is forecast to rise from 256,000 last year to 289,000.

Meanwhile sales of multi-purpose vehicles such as the Renault Espace, Chrysler Voyager, Toyota Previa and Mitsubishi Space Wagon, are forecast to increase by more than 23,000 to 121,700. Sales of this type of vehicle rose three- fold between 1985 and 1991.