Western European trailer market expected to bounce back in late 2013

Western Europe's heavy trailer market fell by 6.3 per cent in 2012, according to UK consulting agency, Clear. The worst performing markets were Italy, Portugal and Spain, which saw a decline of up to 40 per cent.

According to Clear's latest market report, the fall was almost universal; only Norway and Denmark had increased trailer demand. “What is more important is that the economic outlook for the next five years has been downgraded in every year and this will inevitably have an impact on long term trailer demand,” said Clear CEO, Gary Beecroft. 

GDP growth for the region is forecast at only 0.2 per cent in 2013, but will average 1.5 per cent in the three subsequent years when investment growth will average 3.2 per cent. Therefore, there will be growth in trailer demand in the second half of 2013, followed by more solid growth through to 2016.

The report includes data on the demand for road transport in the 'Big 7' economies of Western Europe, which in 2011 languished at 11.6 per cent below the level of 2006 (measured in tonne-km).  The consequence of this fact is that a smaller trailer parc (fleet size) can meet the reduced demand for transport. 

As a consequence of that development, trailer production is estimated to have fallen by 11 per cent in 2012.  However, when the market turns around, production has to catch up with demand and restock the distribution system, so the increase in output will be greater than that for sales.

“The most likely scenario is that, after the hiatus of 2012 and the first half of 2013, we will be into a more stable period of trailer demand growth and parc renewal. From 2013 to 2016, trailer demand will grow in every country in almost every year,” said Beecroft. “By the third quarter 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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