Truckmaker Volvo Jan-Nov shipments rise 3%

STOCKHOLM -- Sweden's Volvo AB, the world's second biggest truck maker, said on Tuesday its truck deliveries rose 3 percent in January through November.

Volvo delivered 201,050 trucks in the period, up from 194,609 a year earlier. This would mean shipments in November alone rose 1.8 percent year-on-year to 20,082 trucks, according to Reuters' calculations.

"It was exactly what I had expected, a little better in Asia and a little worse in Europe, but still very good," said Hampus Engellau, analyst at Handelsbanken.

A buying spree of older, but cheaper, trucks ahead of new environmental rules on both sides of the Atlantic, implemented in October in Europe and at the turn of the year in the United States, have lifted truck sales in recent quarters.

Truck makers and sector analysts now predict a sharp fall in sales over coming months, especially in North America where Volvo has said the market could fall by 40 percent in the first half of 2007.

Volvo's truck deliveries in Europe rose 3.8 percent year-on-year in November, according to Reuters' calculations, while they were down 3.1 percent in North America and 18 percent in Asia.

"It was marginally better than I had expected," said a second analyst.

"What is interesting is order intake and they don't say anything on that."

This year, Volvo sees total industry sales of heavy-duty trucks at the top end of its forecasts at around 340,000 units in North America and about 290,000 units in Europe.

It has not issued full-year forecasts for 2007.

The Volvo group includes the Renault and Mack brands, as well as vehicles sold under its own name, following its acquisition of France's Renault VI in 2001.

Deliveries of its Volvo Trucks brand rose 8.5 percent in November compared with the same month a year before, while those of its U.S. Mack brand fell 6.1 percent. Renault Trucks deliveries fell 3.4 percent.

Separately Volvo said it had won an order for for 200 trucks from Den Hartogh Liquid Logistics in the Netherlands, with deliveries to start in February 2007.

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