A new forecast report issued by UK consulting firm Clear shows that heavy trailer demand in Eastern Europe fell by 4.7 per cent in 2012 – a result less negative than anticipated halfway through 2012. Especially Turkey and Poland saw a strong second half of the year, but the picture is far from uniform. While some countries outperformed expectation, others are still stuck in the doldrums.
According to CEO Gary Beecroft, a variety of market drivers are operating in the region. “Clearly the sluggishness of the West European economy is affecting exports from the east. Some countries are suffering from the hangover arising from the 2009 recession. Others expanded so rapidly in the period from 2004 to 2008 that they have enough equipment to meet the demand for transport. Political instability is affecting consumer and business confidence in some markets.”
Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovenia are forecast to have GDP growth well below the regional average over the five years to 2017 covered by the report. As a result, only the Czech Republic will exhibit reasonable trailer market growth during the forecast period.
“The out-performing countries in terms of GDP growth will be Russia and Turkey. These two will provide most of the growth and most of sales of trailers in the region. Poland and Ukraine will be the other most significant sources of growth in trailer demand,” said Beecroft.
Even in some countries that are underperforming economically, trailer registrations are increasing due to the demand for international transport to, from and through the country, even if national transport demand is stagnating or falling.
“Despite the 2009 recession and the weakness of trailer demand in 2012, Eastern European is forecast to return to the pre-crisis level of demand seen in 2008,” Beecroft concluded.