Daimler AG (FRA:DAI) said on Wednesday that the continued European slump will drive down Daimler Trucks sales in the company’s first quarter for 2013.

Speaking at an annual press conference at the division’s main manufacturing plant in Woerth, Germany, Andreas Renschler, a Daimler board member and chief of the company's truck unit, said sales would pick up toward the latter half of the year, but that the target 8 percent operating margin goal set for the year would be unattainable until 2014, according to Reuters.

The European slump that is pushing down truck sales sees no sign of abating. Demand for new heavy trucks -- whose sales are closely linked to overall trade activity -- fell 18.4 percent in January across the region, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association. New truck registrations fell 9.4 percent in Europe last year.  

The poor performance has hit European truck-making operations hard.

AB Volvo (STO:VOLV-A), based in Gothenburg, Sweden, and owned by China’s Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd. (HKG:0175), announced earlier this year that it was reducing factory production by half. Volvo is a major manufacturer in trucking; it currently sells a dozen models of big rigs for hauling up to 100-ton loads.  

Volkswagen AG (FRA:VOW) of Wolfsburg, Germany, also said earlier this year that it would reduce production of its Scania truck brand by 15 percent in the first quarter.

Things aren’t just bad in Europe. The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers said last week that truck sales declined 35 percent in February as total car sales hit a 12-year low.

Daimler Trucks saw an 8.5 percent rise in global sales last year, to 462,000 units. The company will announced its first quarter results on April 24.