Clear shares 2018 West European trailer market forecast

UK-based transport consulting group, Clear International, has released its West European trailer market forecast, citing distinct improvement for most European economies since its last report in May.

“As a consequence, the forecast of a sharp slowdown in demand for trailers in the region during 2018 has moderated again, but it has not disappeared,” Clear has said in a statement.

“Instead of demand dropping by approximately 9 per cent in 2018 a decline in demand of 5 per cent is now forecast, followed by a further drop in 2019 leading to a total shrinking of the market by 13 per cent over the two years.”

According to Clear, demand for trailers had increased in the first half of 2017 but will have close to zero growth in the second half, with an overall rise of three per cent in registrations.

The consulting group has questioned why, despite European economy improvements, the trailer market forecast is down for 2018/19.

“The catch up demand that has been pushing the market is now over,” said Clear.

“The trailer parc is fully replenished despite the fact that road transport demand has yet to return to 2006 (pre-GFC) levels. Furthermore it is nine years since the decimation of the trailer market in 2009 and the market has never gone ten years without a slowdown.  All these factors point to a fall in demand for new trailers.  Fortunately for the industry, the fall will be relatively modest and short-lived.

“Following the decline in demand in 2018/19 there will be a return to growth in trailer sales in 2020/21. Furthermore, as we move into the 2020s it is likely that demand for commercial vehicles will follow an upward path so that by mid-decade we will be approaching levels above those of 2017.

“The outcome of these changes is that 17,000 trailers have been added to the West European forecast during the 2017-21 period, with over half of that total boosting the 2018 figure.  Most of these extra trailers added to the forecast will be sold in Denmark, Germany, France, the Netherlands and Belgium, with Spain and the UK performing less well than expected in 2017.

“The UK market is currently receding from the heady level of trailer demand seen in 2015/16 and as a result will have the unique distinction of shrinking every year from 2016 to 2019.  Despite this trend, the UK market will fall below 20,000 trailers only in 2019, and therefore remains above the typical market level before the GFC.”

Clear has said that the ‘brexit effect’, which has already dropped the UK average investment growth forecast below one per cent for the 2016/18 period, will reportedly result in uncertainty and low business confidence during the run up to the UK leaving the European Union in 2018. “However, when (if) the brexit terms have been settled there will be a resumption of trailer market growth.”

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