Western European heavy trailer market on the rise

Western Europe’s heavy trailer market has seen substantial growth in 2014, with an increase of 14.8 per cent, according to UK-based consultancy Clear International.

“The star performers were the UK and Germany, both of which saw their markets increase by 5,000 units,” Gary Beecroft, Managing Director of Clear International, reported.

Beecroft also pointed out that the UK market proved to be “especially interesting” over the 12 months, as the trailer market increased by 27 per cent to an all time high, while the market for heavy trucks fell by 29 per cent.

“This can be explained by the gross indulgence in Euro 5 emissions trucks at the end of 2013 leading a loss of truck appetite in 2014. In 2015 we can expect the situation to reverse with the trailer market falling as the demand for trucks revives,” he said.

Despite the substantial increase in trailer demand in the UK, the country’s trailer population increased by less than 7,000 units in 2014, with two-thirds of that increase coming from the UK. 

“At current levels of new registrations, the market is only just meeting the replacement level and that is not enough to grow the fleet,” Beecroft said.

The situation is not uniform across the region, though. Looking at how the local trailer populations changed since 2008, the combined fleet sizes of France, Italy and Spain have fallen by 89,000, whereas the combined fleets of the other 12 nations have increased by 48,000 units.

For the 2014 calendar year, trailer demand in Spain, France and the Netherlands was up by more than 2,000 units, with Italy, Norway and Denmark being the only country’s to not register a double-digit percentage increase – arguably because they are either lagging behind or have seen above-average growth in previous years.

In 2015, the Big Seven economies of Western Europe are all forecast to have accelerating GDP growth and higher business investment, with the sole exception of Italy, which will follow the pack in 2016, Clear predicted.

“The Clear thesis is that the gloom and doom of recent months has been overdone and that confidence in the economy will return in 2015, leading to substantial growth in the trailer market in 2016.”

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