Trailer market forecast downgraded for the next five years

Western Europe's trailer manufacturing industry may have to re-adjust its expectations for 2012 as economic data is indicating a second slow down in the Eurozone. In a recently published report, CLEAR CEO Gary Beecroft said that a return to the demand level of 2007 is unlikely in the current decade.

According to CLEAR, only Germany will experience positive GDP growth in 2012 – resulting in slowing vehicle sales across Europe. While trailer demand was up 0.4 per cent in the first quarter, it will finish the year down 6.3 per cent, said Beecroft.

“What is more important is that the economic outlook to 2016 has been downgraded (…) and this will inevitably have an impact on long-term trailer demand,” he added.

The region’s GDP is forecast to grow at only 0.2 per cent in 2013, but will average 1.5 per cent in the three subsequent years, with investment growth averaging at 3.2 per cent. “Therefore there will be growth [again] in trailer demand in the second half of 2013, followed by more solid growth through to 2016,” said Beecroft.

The report includes data on the demand for road transport in Western Europe’s “Big Seven” economies, which in 2011 languished at 11.6 per cent below the level of 2006 (measured in tonne-km). 

“The most likely scenario is that, after the hiatus of 2012 and the first half of 2013, we will see a more stable period of trailer demand growth and fleet (parc) renewal. From 2013 to 2016, trailer demand will grow in every country in almost every year. However, trailer parc growth will average only 0.3 per cent per annum, as the increase in trailer demand will be insufficient to grow the parc any faster.

“By this time next year, the worst of the current dip in trailer demand will be behind us, but a return to the trailer demand levels of 2007/8 in unlikely in this decade.”

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