Two of the world’s largest trailer manufacturers gave their views at the ACT Research seminar.
David Giesen of Stoughton Trailers and David Li of CIMC Vehicle Group both discussed their companies in particular and the trailer market in general.
Giesen, vice-president at Stoughton, reflected on the strength and length of the current upward cycle in trailer demand.
“We are in fifth year of this cycle,” he said. “The industry typically runs a four-year cycle. But five years into this cycle, backlogs and order volumes remain stronger and longer than normal.”
• Fleets ordering earlier than usual.
• Next few years are projected to be strong/steady.
• When will the next dip in demand be and how deep
• Anticipating possible requirements of the upcoming federal greenhouse gas regulation for trailers, Giesen said Stoughton already has made low rolling resistant tires standard equipment on its trailers and is promoting the use of automatic tire inflation systems, a technology that has demonstrated proven payback.
CIMC Vehicle Group generated- $1.29 billion in sales in China and $580 in North America last year, Li said. The company built 86,300 trailers of all types, including container chassis.
CIMC started it global journey in 2003 by acquiring the Monon Trailer plant in Monon, Indiana. The company’s approach has been to use local expertise to build a global operation.
Li cited a tipping dry powder trailer that its team designed for the Australian market in six months. Tapping talent in China, Australia and Europe teams, the company was able to deliver a show unit in time for the recent Melbourne Truck Show.
What about opportunities for US companies to do business in China?
“The primary product going back to China from the US and our European operations is knowledge,” added Charlie Mudd, president of CIMC’s Vanguard National operation. “The market in the US is very mature, with developed distribution channels and trucking industry. China is a very immature market with a fragmented transportation industry.”
Mudd said that China has about 300 trailer manufacturers, and the industry there has no consistent design standards. Li said that his company is working to implement SmartWay concepts in China. ♦