Kgel in Germany, Chereau in France reorganize under single owner

THE BIGGEST CHANGES in the European truck trailer market have occurred at Kögel, formerly the second-largest trailer builder in Germany, and in Chereau, its new sister company — the big French manufacturer of insulated cargo vehicles.

Formerly separate family-owned organizations, both companies are 100% owned by Trailer Holding GmbH of Munich, Germany. The new managing director of Kögel Fahrzeugwerke GmbH in Ulm is Klemens Grosse-Vehne, formerly chairman of the board of DEKRA AG in Stuttgart. The managing director of Jean Chereau SAS of Avranches, France, is Alain Guermeur. Both spoke at a Kögel-Chereau press conference at the beginning of the IAA commercial vehicle exhibition in Hanover.

The first phase of the reorganization for Kögel was reducing the product line from the former 400 different variations down to only 70 of the most common vehicle versions. Manufacturing plant sites were reduced to only two: the headquarters plant in Burtenbach near Ulm and the frame plant in Chocen in the Czech Republic. Total employment was reduced 19% to 972. The administrative staff in Ulm was cut 54%, eliminating 131 jobs there.

In the second phase, sales activities are being expanded throughout Europe, especially in 100% owned subsidiaries: Kögel (UK) Ltd in Birmingham, Kögel France sarl in Strasbourg, and Kögel CZ sro in Prague. The changeover to the Kögel Euro modular construction system will be completed by the spring of 2005.

In the third phase, the overall lead time for standard vehicles will be lowered from ten days to less than five days.

At the time of the IAA in late September, Kögel was on schedule to meet its 2004 sales target of 217 million euros ($270 million), of which about 60% was export business.

Kögel has discontinued production of its refrigerated trailers, and instead is working with its sister company, Chereau on reefers. The Kögel-Chereau Cooler is a Chereau insulated box on a Kögel chassis. The only insulated trailer being produced by Kögel is a new line of lightly insulated dry freight van trailers, the Cargo-BOXX plus. Its 30 mm (1¼") sidewalls consist of a sandwich with a core of CFC-free PUR foam and steel skins. The inside skin also has a food-safe hard PVC lamination. The standard roof is a light-transmissive, white GRP roofsheet on roof bows, with an insulated roof as an option.

Chereau itself has a 48% share of the market in France for insulated semitrailers and an 18% share in the European Union. Chereau has a staff of 620 and annual production of more than 3,300 insulated bodies. Annual sales are about 130 million euros ($160 million). Kögel Fahrzeugwerke GmbH, Daimlerstrasse 14, D-89079 Ulm, Germany.

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