CLEAR is providing its latest forecast of the European market for heavy goods vehicle trailers. It had been thought that the trailer market would take a breather in 2006, but helped by an explosion of demand in Germany, a new sales record of 145,000 vehicles will be set for the seven largest economies, or 175,000 units for Western Europe as a whole.
Forecasts woefully understated the potential for growth in the German economy during 2006, and have been continuously revised throughout the year. By the end of 2006, the German transport industry will have bought 52,000 trailers and semitrailers. Furthermore, German trailer manufacturers will have exported more than 50,000 units, bringing production in Germany to 100,000-plus units for the first time.
As the trailer replacement cycle is on a downturn, the market's robust performance is slightly surprising. One important support factor is the inclusion of the new East European markets in the European Union, which is giving a boost to international transport and vehicle demand.
Looking forward, as the replacement cycle turns around, 2007 and 2009 are forecast to be record years, but with lower growth levels than in either the late 1980s or 1990s.
According to Gary Beecroft, managing director of CLEAR, “The German industry expects 2007 to be like the current one, or slightly better, but I think there will be a slowdown in the second half.”