Strong 2015 for western European trailer market

Western Europe’s commercial trailer market has ended on a stronger note than expected, according to UK consultancy, Clear International – a trend that could last through to 2018.

According to Gary Beecroft, Managing Director at Clear, trailer registrations in the west of Europe are forecast to have grown by 14.8 per cent in the first half of 2015 and 8.1 per cent in the second. 

The positive sentiment is set to continue well into 2016, with Beecroft stating that new trailer demand could exceed the strong result of 2006. “2016 will have the third highest trailer registrations level on record. [However,] it remains unlikely that the demand level of 2007-08 will be seen again.”

Beecroft added, “What we are seeing in these markets is basically catch-up demand. In many European markets, demand for new trailers has been so far below the long term trend level for so many years that, as soon as companies regain the confidence to invest in new assets, the floodgates are opened and two or three years of exceptional increases are possible.”

Looking back at 2015, Beecroft pointed out that the countries that had struggled most since the Global Financial Crisis have finally gained pace again.

Italy, for example, was up 68 per cent in the first four months of the year and will finish the year with by 61 per cent surplus. Spain, where registrations last year were half pre-crisis levels, started the year up 60 per cent and will finish around the 42 per cent mark.

Two countries that had already recovered from the crisis also had a strong 2015, though: The Netherlands will finish 2015 up 22 per cent, while the UK is likely to set a new sales record, according to Beecroft.

“These four countries plus Denmark and France will account for almost all the extra demand for trailers when compared with 2014,” he said.

“The Big Seven economies of Western Europe are all forecast to have accelerating GDP growth and higher business investment. The Clear thesis is that this positive trend of economic development in 2015-16 will lead to a further increase in the trailer market in 2016.”

While Beecroft pointed out that a cyclical slowdown is forecast for 2018, trailer production will continue to rise in line with demand until that point in time.

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