Commercial vehicle manufacturers and truck and van operators have been urged to “beware the harbingers of doom - they could be wrong”.

The message from the backers of the annual Commercial Vehicle show staged at Birmingham’s NEC every April, were sounding upbeat even though CV registrations fell by a further 42.3 per cent in November, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

But the news should not hide the fact there are customers out there buying, says the CV Show Partnership, made up of the Road Haulage Association (RHA), the SMMT and the Institute of Road Transport Engineers (IRTE).

“It’s tempting to give up on 2009, to fold up one’s tent and walk away, but this would be playing into the hands of the gloom-mongers” said RHA chief executive Roger King.

“The CV Show 2009 represents not just a beacon of hope but a blaze of opportunity, a chance to draw a line and start to sell again.

“The RHA recognises that business activity with hauliers has taken a tumble. But we are delighted with the resilience of our members, all of whom are recovering from fuel prices that peaked at 22p per litre more than is currently being paid, despite the chancellor’s ridiculous 2p per litre fuel tax imposition announced in his pre-Budget statement.

“If we can drive down the current average 12ppl surcharge on diesel, and our referral to the OFT on this might help, this will further reduce operating costs. What this amounts to is the potential for guarded optimism by hauliers as fuel prices have tumbled. I believe the CV Show in April is strategically placed to capitalise on this and that new business potential is considerable.”

The RHA believes it is unwise that UK investment in commercial vehicles is reflected elsewhere in the world.

“Road transport in the UK accounts for 90 per cent of freight movement, and is certainly truck and van-dependent,” said Roger King.

“And that is exactly why, alone of all EU countries, we can support an annual CV Show and why they have been so successful.”

The next show will be at the NEC from April 28-30.