Press Release

EU truck industry could lose up to a tenth of sales to foreign rivals, according to BCG study

September 27, 2023

Failure to meet demand for zero-emission trucks would present opportunity for Tesla and BYD, T&E says.

European truckmakers could lose 11% of the EU market to international electric rivals by 2035, Boston Consulting Group (BCG) has forecasted in a study commissioned by Transport & Environment (T&E). It is one of three scenarios analysed by BCG on the impact of international competition.[1] This would mean losing market share equivalent to that of trucking giants Scania or IVECO to the likes of Tesla and BYD, T&E says. The NGO is calling on lawmakers to lean on European producers to ramp up the supply of zero-emission trucks and better prepare them for international competition.

Entry barriers are higher in the truck market than for cars, with little international trade today. But that can change fast if other regions electrify faster. BCG finds EU demand for zero-emission trucks will surge to 55% of sales by 2030, as prices fall. But current truck CO2 standards risk European manufacturers not meeting demand. T&E said EU lawmakers should set more ambitious targets to require truckmakers to produce more zero-emission vehicles. This would help avoid a repeat of the car market, where European car companies that were slow to electrify now face increased competition in the EU from Chinese EV manufacturers. 

Sofie Defour, freight director at T&E, said: “Our truck industry risks repeating the loss of sales to Tesla and BYD that we’ve started seeing in the car market. If Volkswagen and Stellantis could go back five years, to when electric cars had the same market share as electric trucks do now, would they make the same choices? To retain dominance at home, European truckmakers need to go electric faster. More ambitious EU CO2 standards, alongside green industrial policy, will ensure they keep up with demand while bringing down costs for hauliers.”

Stronger CO2 targets would ensure European workers reap the full benefits of the switch to electric trucks. BCG modelled the impact on employment of different speeds of transition to zero-emission trucks, and found that the faster the transition, the bigger the gains by 2035. The targets proposed by the European Commission would create 7,000 additional jobs in the sector by 2035 compared to current targets, finds T&E analysis based on BCG’s modelling. Under the more ambitious targets proposed by T&E, 23,000 new jobs would be created.[2] 

The contribution of the truck manufacturing sector to the European economy would also increase. The proposed targets by the EU Commission would create €10 billion in additional GDP compared to current standards, according to T&E analysis based on BCG’s modelling. T&E’s proposed targets would add €27 billion in GDP. 

Sofie Defour said: “The transition to zero-emission trucks is good for jobs and the climate. But the size of the economic gains depends on the speed of the transition. EU lawmakers need to chart a more ambitious course for truckmakers than what’s currently on the table.”

Note to editors:

[1] The exact impact of international competition on the European market depends on the market entry scenario. BCG identified three scenarios for market entry: 1) ‘Fully localised production’, where EU truckmakers lose 11% of the market; 2) ‘Local assembly with partial local sourcing’, where 8% of the market is lost to foreign rivals; 3) ‘Import-based competition’, where production is never localised and imports stagnate at 3%. These scenarios contrast to a ‘Successful Defence’, where EU truckmakers meet demand and foreign competitors don’t manage to gain a foothold. 

[2]T&E’s targets would require truckmakers to reduce their new vehicle emissions by 65% in 2030 and 100% in 2035, bringing supply for zero-emission vehicles more in line with expected demand. For comparison, current policies require truckmakers to reduce new vehicle emissions by 30% by 2030 and the European Commission has proposed to increase this requirement to 45% by 2030 and to set a 90% reduction target by 2040.

Read more:

Study: Impact Assessment of the Transition to Zero-Emission Trucks in Europe

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