European trailer forecast points to growth

Trailer manufacturers in Europe are beginning a period of sustained growth, according to CLEAR, a British consulting group that works with companies interested in automotive markets.

The company’s latest forecast is positive for trailer manufacturers, of which there are hundreds in Europe, as well as manufacturers of brakes, suspensions, axles, wheels, tires and specialty truck bodies.

As it was in the US, 1998 to 2001 were particularly strong years. European trailer demand averaged approximately 130,000 annually during that time.

The next three years were marked by consistent decline. However, the market has revived in 2004. Between 2005 to 2007 there will be consistent if unspectacular growth, according to the CLEAR forecast. The company expects demand to reach record levels by 2008.

France, the UK and the Netherlands are likely to post small declines in 2004, but growth elsewhere, particularly in Germany, will more than compensate for the weaker markets.

“The principal market drivers are business investment growth and the replacement cycle,” says Gary Beecroft, managing director of CLEAR. “Investment growth has strengthened recently. Normally we would expect a substantial upturn in the market when that happens. However, weak replacement demand is pulling the market in the other direction keeping growth rates low.”

CLEAR clients include component manufacturers, vehicle manufacturers, investment banks, management consultants, materials producers and government bodies. The company can be reached by e-mail at [email protected]

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