European trailer demand takes a beating

A new report from consulting group CLEAR highlights what toll the economy has taken on the trailer market in Europe

A new report from consulting group CLEAR highlights what toll the economy has taken on the trailer market in Europe.

According to CLEAR, who counts among its clients component manufacturers, vehicle manufacturers, investment banks, management consultants, materials producers and governments, the European trailer market has seen a 50% drop since 2008, eclipsing by nearly 20% the drop experienced during the 1992-93 recession.

The West European Trailer Market Report points out that companies have plenty of “new equipment, which they can easily forgo renewing for year or two. For many firms, trailer production was down by 80% at the start of 2009.”

“We have seen an unprecedented decline in the demand for transport at the same time as Europe was stuffed with nearly new trailers,” said Gary Beecroft, managing director of CLEAR. “This combination has proved disastrous for the industry. However, I expect a 30% increase in demand in 2010 and a 45% increase in production.

“Normally such increases would be an excuse for champagne all round, but we are starting from such a low base that in terms of numbers of trailers, the figures are not that impressive,” Beecroft added. “In Germany in particular, Europe’s largest market, demand will be held back by the oversupply of trailers in 2007/8.”

According to CLEAR, in 1992-93, demand for trailers dropped 37,000 from 120,000 units. In 2008-09, that drop is 104,000 units, down from 208,000 in 2007.

Peak trailer production was 126,000 units before 1993, reaching 292,000 units in 2007. With a fall of 190,000 trailers, or 65%, projected in 2009.

“The reason the fall in production is so much larger than the fall in registrations is that the East European markets have collapsed as trailer finance dried up, killing export demand,” the report said.

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