HGV trailer sales fell 6.3 per cent in 2012

Sales of heavy good vehicle trailers fell 6.3 per cent across Western Europe in 2012. Meanwhile heavy truck demand fell by more than 9 per cent, according to market analysts from the Clear agency, which pointed out that the figures were in line with its expectations. The fall was almost universal – only Norway and Denmark experienced increased trailer demand. The worst performing markets were Italy, Portugal and Spain, which saw falls of between 20 and 40 per cent.

What is perhaps more important is that the economic outlook for the next five years has been downgraded in every year and this will inevitably have an impact on long term trailer demand. GDP growth for the region is forecast at only 0.2 per cent in 2013, but will average 1.5 per cent in the three subsequent years when investment growth will average 3.2 per cent.  The suggestion is that therefore, there will be growth in trailer demand in the second half of 2013, followed by more solid growth through to 2016.

Furthermore road transport demand in 2011 languished at 11.6 per cent below the level of 2006 (measured in tonne-km). Whenever there is a slowdown in trailer demand there is usually an even larger reduction in trailer production, which is estimated to have fallen by 11 per cent in 2012. However, when the market turns around production has to catch up with demand and restock the distribution system, so the increase in output will be greater than that for sales.

According to the Clear analysts, the most likely scenario is that, after the hiatus of 2012 and the first half of 2013, we will be into a more stable period of trailer demand growth and parc renewal.  From 2013 to 2016 trailer demand will grow in every country in almost every year.

Gary Beecroft of Clear stated: “By the third quarter the worst of the current dip in trailer demand will be behind us, but a return to the trailer demand levels of 2007/8 in unlikely in this decade.”

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