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IRU Indices: Double dip recession for EU is confirmed despite warnings


03 Jan 2013


Innovation & Enterprise
Trade & Society

IRU Road Transport Indices 2012 forecast that EU countries were on the brink of a double dip recession has now been confirmed, whereas the BRIC countries continue outperforming the old economies.


Geneva  – The IRU Road Transport Indices, which allow the comparison of GDP growth, road freight transport volumes and new vehicle registrations in 58 countries* on a quarterly basis, confirm the 2012 forecast of a double dip recession for EU countries. The IRU Indices also forecast that in 2013, GDP and transport volume will stagnate before gradually picking up again. BRIC countries**, on the other hand, experienced a 5% increase in GDP and a 6% increase in transported tonnes over the same period and will continue outperforming the EU in 2013.


Following the recession in 2009, IRU Road Transport Indices show that the GDP has contracted again (double dip) by 0.3% in the EU in 2012. In 2013, economic growth is expected to stagnate and then gradually return, with some further strengthening in 2014. EU road transport performance, measured in transported tonnes, stagnated in 2012 and will only slightly increase by 0.7% in 2013.


However, next year’s stagnation across Europe masks a north-south divide, in which the economy ekes out slightly positive figures along an arc from Finland to France, while contraction grips Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal.

IRU Head of Sustainable Development, Jens Hügel, said “These figures confirm the IRU Road Transport Indices forecast for 2012.” He also recalled “At the beginning of 2012 the industry warned that the EU would be heading for a double dip recession and stressed that this recession was avoidable if lessons were learned from the BRIC countries. It is clear that EU Governments did not acknowledge the industry’s advice.”


Indeed, when comparing the 2011 and 2012 figures, BRIC countries have outperformed EU countries in terms of GDP and growth in tonnes transported and will continue doing so in 2013. In fact, GDP in the BRIC countries rose by 7% in 2012 and road transport operators carried 6.5% more volume (in tonnes) in 2012. Furthermore, GDP will increase in 2013 by 6.3% and road transport operators will carry 6.7% more tonnage in 2013.


Mr Hügel concluded that, “In light of the economic figures, it comes as no surprise that in 2012 EU transport operators were reluctant to invest in new vehicles resulting in a stagnation of new vehicle sales, compared to transport operators in the BRIC countries who continued to invest. The fact that BRIC countries are outperforming the “Old Economies” across the board results from their understanding that both systemic innovation and major investment in production tools, including in small and medium-sized enterprises that provide 85% of jobs, such as road transport companies, are instrumental in expediting real economic growth.”


Access the IRU Road Transport Indices



Press contact: Juliette Ebélé, +41 22 918 27 07,



*Albania, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Iran,  Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Macedonia (FYROM), Morocco, Moldova, The Netherlands, Norway, People's Republic of China, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uzbekistan.

** Brazil, Russian Federation, India, People's Republic of China





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