European trailer market trends
The worldwide market for trailers is huge. The Business Research Company valued it at €25.3 billion in 2017. Asia-Pacific is the largest geographic region accounting for $9.8 billion of that total and China the leading country buying $5.1 billion worth of trailers. Europe is also a major trailer market with trailer registrations exceeding 190,000 in Western Europe in 2017 (source: Fleetwatch)
Record sales in Western Europe in 2017
CLEAR International, the UK consulting group, that calculated the 190,000+ figure, stated that this was the third highest level of demand in Western Europe, bettered only in 2007 and 2008.
Outlook for 2018 and beyond
CLEAR International believes that demand for trailers in Western Europe will drop by 4% in 2018 and decline further in 2019, contributing to a 12% total reduction in the market over those two years. This is partly down to transport companies having rebuilt their trailer fleets to keep up with more buoyant demand after a slowdown triggered by the global financial crisis in 2008.
There is optimism ahead with CLEAR predicting a return to growth in trailer registrations in 2020/21. CLEAR has added 16 200 trailers to its forecast during the 2018-22 period, spread evenly across the five years. Most of these extra trailers added to the forecast will be registered in Denmark, Germany, France, the Netherlands and Belgium with Spain, Italy and the UK performing less well than expected in 2017 and beyond. For example, demand in the UK is only likely to increase in 2020, once the consequences of BREXIT have settled. (source: Fleetwatch)
Strengthened trailer markets
In April 2018, CLEAR International found that trailer demand had surged in Poland, Russia, and Turkey in the second half of 2017 and had contributed to registrations of over 90,000 units in the regions combined for the first time in 10 years. This led to CLEAR increasing its forecast for 2018 by 4.0 percent. (source: Tyrepress) Gary Beecroft of CLEAR told Handling News that “Despite difficulties in the region, particularly affecting Turkey, we will see growth in trailer demand in four of the next five years. This will result in trailer sales exceeding the pre-global financial crisis level of 2006 by 2020.”
European trailer production
Roland Berger strategy consulting has conducted an interesting research on truck and trailer components. This gives a useful overview of European medium/heavy duty commercial vehicle trailer production, of which semi-trailers are the most in demand.
In Western Europe, production grew at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6% between 2012 and 2017 based on 180,000 trailers manufactured in 2012. It predicts that the CAGR will be 1% between 2017 and 2021 with 230,000 trailers produced in 2017.
For Eastern Europe, Roland Berger estimated that production had grown by CAGR of 3% from 2012 to 2017 and forecasts a 0% CAGR from 2017 to 2021. Production in Eastern Europe has remained at approximately 50,000 units per year on average.
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