The European classification system defines trucks as “motor vehicles with at least four wheels, used for the carriage of goods”. They have a mass of more than 3.5 tonnes.

Under this system, trucks are either classified in the N2 category (weighing more than 3.5 tonnes) or N3 (weighing more than 16 tonnes). N3 vehicles are also referred to as ‘heavy trucks’ or ‘heavy commercial vehicles’

The end-use of trucks varies widely – they may for instance be used for long-haul or regional delivery, for construction or for municipality use.

Depending on their mission, most trucks are custom-built on an individual basis, often in a multi-stage process, in order to meet specific requirements. They can  vary from the number of axles to the size of the engine, fuel tank or cab, to the  height of the chassis.

When taking the complete vehicle into account – a rigid body or a tractor plus a trailer – the truck market becomes even more complex. There are literally thousands of shapes and sizes of trucks.

Why are Trucks important?

Road freight transport is the backbone of trade and commerce on the uropean continent.

Trucks carry 75% of freight transported over land, delivering 14 billion tonnes of goods per year.

Trucks function as part of a logistics chain whose components also include inland waterways, shipping, air and rail transport. While separately, each has its own advantages, combined they form an integrated system. The other transport modes also depend on trucks to transfer freight to and from depots, rail terminals, airfields and ports.

Not only do trucks remain the most flexible, responsive and economic mode of transport for the vast majority of goods and freight, they are also essential to the functioning of the larger, integrated European logistics and transport system.

Most of our daily necessities, such as fresh food from the supermarket or corner shop, newspapers and magazines, electronics and appliances, clothing, and so on, depend on trucks at some point in the distribution chain.

Many essential public services are delivered by trucks, such as garbage  collection, fire and construction services.

Figures about the importance of trucks in this fact sheet

Buses are the most widely-used form of public transport in the EU, serving cities as well as suburban and rural areas. They are also the most cost-efficient and flexible form of public transport, requiring minimal investments to launch new lines or routes.

Vans are key players in the logistics chain, enabling the ‘last mile’ delivery of goods in urban areas. Largely used by SMEs as business tools, vans power the European economy, helping businesses to thrive.