Skids under Europe's truck manufacturers

THE EUROPEAN truck industry was facing a further shake-out yesterday as DAF, the Anglo- Dutch manufacturer, began the grim struggle for survival after being forced to seek court protection from its creditors, writes Michael Harrison.

The first casualty is likely to be Leyland DAF, the UK subsidiary, which has been worse hit than most by the recession that has swept Europe's truck markets.

The restructuring plan being worked on by DAF had been expected to lead to 1,000 UK job losses. The danger now is that more of Leyland DAF's workforce of 5,500 will face the axe as its receivers move in.

In the past three years the European market for trucks of more than six tonnes has slumped by 20 per cent to just under 250,000 and is expected to fall a further 8 per cent this year.

In Britain, once one of the biggest truck markets in Europe, the decline has been even more severe. In 1979 Leyland alone made more than 30,000 trucks - nearly all for home consumption. Last year total UK sales were only 31,400 - down by almost half from the level of the late 1980s.

As UK market leader with a share of 25 per cent, Leyland- DAF has been hardest hit. It was not, however, the first to go under. Last June, AWD, the company that took over Bedford Trucks in Dunstable, succumbed to the receivers, with 650 job losses. Although the remnants of AWD were bought from receivership in December by Marshall's of Cambridge, production will never reach the 8,000 dreamt of under its previous ownership.

Since the early 1980s a rash of mergers across the European truck industry has seen thousands of jobs disappear along with a handful of famous names such as Scammell. Ford put its truck operations into a joint venture with Iveco, the Fiat subsidiary, while Renault and Volvo also merged their truck divisions. The initial merger of Leyland and DAF in 1987 cost 2,000 jobs.

Despite this rationalisation only three of Europe's seven big truck makers - Scania, Mercedes-Benz and MAN - are thought to have been profitable last year. Last night truck makers were wondering whether their number was about to become six.

View from City Road, page 23

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Recruitment Resourcer

£20000 - £21000 per annum + uncapped commission: SThree: As a graduate you are...

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Advisor is r...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn