Even when trailer demand fell in 2008 by 9.7% in Eastern Europe, there was a hope that the high-growth East European markets would imitate BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) and largely ignore the slowdown, then return rapidly to growth. What actually happened was that the trailer market fell by 65.1% in 2009 – a much larger fall than occurred in Western Europe – according to consulting group CLEAR.
East European banks and financial institutions were not exposed to questionable derivative products or US mortgages. However, both the region’s financial institutions and the larger private companies were dependent on western capital markets. When these dried up with the arrival of the credit crunch, it became virtually impossible to finance transport equipment purchases. As a consequence, trailers orders vanished.
Gary Beecroft, managing director of CLEAR said, “The level of dislocation in the market has been huge. The only consolation for local trailer producers in Eastern Europe has been that expensive imported trailers have fared slightly worse than the indigenous product. What is interesting is that demand in the various countries within Eastern Europe will recover at different rates – some moving back onto a high growth path quite quickly.”
Some countries in the region have grown so fast that they are close to having enough trailers to meet the country’s demand for transport, whereas others have plenty of headroom for growth.
The East European Trailer Market Report (March 2010) can be obtained from CLEAR by writing to
[email protected] . A new report for the West European market was issued in February 2010.