East European trailer market proving a mixed bag in 2012

Heavy trailer demand in Eastern Europe will fall by 11% in 2012 after last year’s growth of 58%, according to consulting group CLEAR.

However, the picture is far from uniform, with some countries outperforming expectations whereas others are stuck in the doldrums.

There are a variety of market drivers operating in the region. Clearly the sluggishness of the West European economy is affecting exports from the east. Some countries are suffering from the hangover arising from the 2009 recession. Others expanded so rapidly in the period from 2004 to 2008 that they have enough equipment to meet the demand for transport. Political instability is affecting consumer and business confidence in a few places.

In particular, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovenia are forecast to have GDP growth well below the regional average over the five years to 2016 covered by the report. Of these countries, the Czech Republic will exhibit reasonable trailer market growth during the forecast period having sunk to such a low level by 2010.

The out-performing countries in terms of GDP growth will be Russia and Turkey. These two countries will provide most of the growth and most of sales of trailers in the region. Poland and possibly Ukraine will be the other most significant sources of demand.

Even in some countries that are underperforming economically, trailer registrations are increasing due to the demand for international transport to, from and through the country, even if national transport demand is stagnating.

“Despite the 2009 recession and the weakness of trailer demand in 2012, Eastern European is forecast to return to the pre-crisis level of demand seen in 2008,” said Gary Beecroft, managing director of CLEAR. “The size of the trailer parc (fleet) has increased every year since the 1990s.”

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