Europe's leading trailer maker, Schmitz Cargobull, says the European trailer market has collapsed, according to Transport News Brief.
Schmitz says registrations are down "drastically" and trailer makers have seen orders drop 94% in the first quarter of the year, with a slow recovery expected.
With sales expected to be "between 70 and 90% down" for the year, Schmitz says it will cut costs, output and jobs. The company expects an annual production of 10,000 units -- a dramatic contrast from 66,000 in its record financial year of 2007-2008.
It has stopped work at one of its two UK plants and at one in Lithuania, will not renew 350 temporary jobs and expects to cut 500 permanent jobs, but will retain 180 trainees.
The firm's senior staff will contribute part of their pay to a fund to help colleagues hit by the cutbacks.
Despite this, "the financial position of the company is solid due to the permanent re-investment of profits," according to Ulrich Schümer, the firm's finance chief.
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