The  Volkswagen Group’s commercial vehicle operation, Traton Group, has declared it has hit a new record in sales volume in 2023 with the truck comglomerate selling   338,200  for the 12 months to the end of December, up 11 per cent  on 2022’s total of  305,500 vehicles

The increase in the Traton’s sales volume was  according to the company’s latest statement  as a result of a very high order backlog, increasingly stable supply chains, and a higher production volume.

Traton’s truck business contributed to this increase with an 11 per cent growth in sales volume over 2022  with to 281,300 trucks from Traton  brands, Scania, MAN and Navistar hitting the World’s roads. Meantime its bus unit sales were up just two per cent on 2022, with  30,300 bushings being delivered. Further bolstering the numbers were those  of MAN’s TGE vans, a rebadged version of VW’s Crafter, with  26,600  of the vans sold last year up 23 per cent year-on-year.

Traton said that following very high incoming orders in 2022, the Group recorded a 21 per cent decrease in its incoming orders, down to 264,800  from the 2022 intake of 334,600 orders.

The company said this was  a reflection of demand continuing to return to normal after accumulating as a result of factors like the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

At the same time it said  that demand was impacted by uncertainty with regard to economic development and by a more difficult financing environment.

Order acceptance was said to be restrictive in North America due to the persistently high order backlog, while incoming orders in South America were impacted by pull-forward effects resulting from a stricter emissions standard coming into force at the  beginning of 2023.

The company said that its book-to-bill ratio, or the ratio of incoming orders to unit sales, declined from 1.1 to 0.8, which will allow it to reduce delivery times in 2024 to its customers’ benefit.

Incoming orders of trucks fell by 23 per cent to 210,600  from 2022’s 274,300) trucks, while an eight per cent decrease to 29,800 was recorded in the bus business and the orders for MAN TGE vans were down 13 per cent at 24,400  from 28,000  in 2022.

CEO of the Traton Group, Christian Levin said the4 Group’s brands were able to continue stabilising and increasing production in 2023 and to gradually reduce the high order backlog.

“This allowed us to lift our unit sales by an impressive 11% year-on-year and hit a new record,” Levin said.

“Although supply chains had not completely regained their stability, we managed to deliver vehicles to our customers with shorter lead times,” he said.

“Demand in Europe is continuing to return to normal, and our order books are well filled, with enough orders to last us into the second half of the year,” Levin said.

“This is making me confident that 2024 will be another successful year for Traton and our customers,” he said.

The Group’s best performing brand, Scania saw its sales volume rise by 14 per cent to 96,700  up from the  85,200 in 2022. with truck unit sales were up 14 per cent  to 91,700, while  buses improved 2 per cent  year-on-year to 5,100  last year. As of year-end, Scania’s incoming orders stood at 84,100  an increase of 2 per cent on 2022.

The MAN Truck  and Bus  unit lifted its total sales by 37 per cent to 116,000 in 2023, with the company saying that unit sales having been strongly impaired by a six-week production stop at some plants in the prior-year period.

The strongest growth was reported in MAN trucks with an increase of 44 per cent to 83,700 last year. Mean time MAN bus unit sales were 19 per cent  higher than in 2022 with 5,700  sold last year globally.

Economic uncertainty in the European market saw MAN TGE van orders decrease by 21 per cent year on year, even though its 2023 sales volume was up 23 per cent  to 26600 vans.

The Group’s US based subsidiaryNavistar saw its total sales up nine per cent  to  88,900 last year with its trucks rising by nine per cent  to 75,500, while bus sales were  four per cent higher at 13,400 in 2023.

Navistar’s incoming orders decreased by 29 per cnet  to 60,900  in 2023 with the company explaining that it was as a result of most of the orders for 2023 having already been commissioned in 2022. Traton said that Navistar remained restricted in its acceptance of new orders for 2024 due to the high order backlog.