BARCELONA -- Heavy truck makers did a better job than automakers dealing with the huge demand for used vehicles in new European Union member countries.
Used-car sales surged and new-car sales slumped in many of the 10 countries that joined the EU last May.
The reason: The ending of expensive tariffs that hindered the import of used cars from western Europe to central Europe.
Heavy truck makers capitalized on the high demand for used vehicles in countries such as Poland and the Czech Republic by shipping trade-ins and other second-hand trucks there, said John Lawson, managing director in European automotive research at Citigroup Smith Barney.
"They have taken a prominent role in the second-hand trade," Lawson told the Automotive News Congress Thursday.
The truck makers won a second time by selling new vehicles to customers in western Europe who needed to replace the trucks that they traded in, added Lawson.
New-car sales in eight of the 10 new EU members fell 15 percent last year compared with 2003. Year-to-date sales are down 20 percent compared with the same period last year.