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East European trailer market surging: CLEAR

Oct. 6, 2021
On the assumption that further new waves of COVID-19 are kept under control, CLEAR envisages 34% growth of E. Europe trailer demand in 202 climbing to record production in 2024

The East European truck trailer market is positioned for “a huge rebound,” according to the latest forecast update from CLEAR International.

The recovery in trailer demand in 2021 will be considerably quicker than was expected six months ago. This is due to a faster economic recovery in 2021 as more parts of the economy reopen and vaccination programs accelerate, CLEAR noted. The forecasts for 2022‑25 registrations will also be significantly higher.

Since the report in March most of the 15 East European countries covered in the report have had their forecasts for 2021 economic growth upgraded. Current data now shows negative GDP growth of between -8.0% and +1.8% in 2020 with every country except Turkey having negative GDP, CLEAR reported. The cause was the outbreak of COVID-19, which led to the partial shutdown of all European economies.

Unlike Western Europe, investment growth rates remained robust in 2018-2019 but were negative in 11 countries in 2020.  All countries in Eastern Europe saw falls in trailer demand in 2019-2020 with the sole exception of Turkey which saw a strong recovery despite the pandemic.

In 2019-2020 the average fall in new trailer registrations was 18.9% with the Baltic States all falling by more than 50% but Turkey growing by over by 50%. (The average fall in 2009 global downturn was 61%.)

Perhaps more importantly, the economic forecasts for 2021-25 have all been upgraded with higher GDP and investment figures expected, resulting in an upgrade to the forecast level of trailer demand, CLEAR noted.

On the assumption that further new waves of COVID-19 are kept under control, CLEAR envisages 34% growth of trailer demand in 2021.  Almost half of the growth will come from Poland and most of the reminder from Turkey and Lithuania. A new record registrations figure will be set in 2025.

Production of trailers was at the third highest level on record in 2018 (though well short of the 2007 figure).  A new record production figure will be set in 2024.

The trailer parc (fleet size) grew by only 2.6% in 2020 which is a “weak figure” for the region, according to CLEAR. It will grow by an average of 3.4% during the 2021-25 period.

At the time of writing the number of coronavirus infections remains high, but hospitalizations and deaths remain below the levels seen five to twelve months ago due to effective vaccination programs in most countries, and despite the presence of the Delta variant.

The trade in goods data for 2020 were “surprising.” CLEAR added. Trade was down 7% in 2020-Q2 but up 11% in 2020-Q4.  For the year trade was up 5%.

The East European Trailer Market Report (September 2021), with forecasts to 2025, can be obtained from CLEAR by contacting Gary Beecroft by email or telephone at +44 20 8892 8379.  A new report for the West European market was issued in June 2021.  A Global Trailer Market Database is also available.

CLEAR International is a consulting group working with companies active in automotive and transport markets.  Projects focus on the future demand for products as a result of changes in technology, markets, business processes and legislation. Clients include component manufacturers, vehicle manufacturers, investment banks, management consultants, materials producers and government bodies.