2015 West European trailer market up, more growth expected

In 2015 the West European trailer market got off to a strong start with registrations of new trailers up 14.8 per cent in the first half and 8.1per cent growth forecast for the second. Overall then, the market will be stronger than anticipated at the beginning of the year, according to Clear International’s analysis.

The reason? Because several markets which have struggled since the global financial crisis, started 2015 very strongly. Italy for example was up 68 per cent in the first four months of the year and will finish the year up by 61 per cent. Spain, where registrations last year were half pre-crisis levels, started the year up 60 per cent and will finish up 42 per cent.

Two countries which have recovered quite well from the crisis have also had strong years. The Netherland will finish 2015 up 22 per cent. The UK, which set a new record for trailer demand in 2014, will smash that record in 2015.

These four countries plus Denmark and France will account for almost all the extra demand for trailers when compared with 2014. The forecast for the UK market has been increased in every year since it appears the new higher level of demand is sustainable.

“What we are seeing in these markets is basically catch-up demand. In many European markets the demand for new trailers has been so far below the long term trend level for so many years that, as soon as companies regain the confidence to invest in new assets, the floodgates are opened and two or three years of exceptional increases (measured in percentage terms) are possible. However, it must be remembered that in some cases, e.g., Italy and Spain plus Portugal and Ireland, we are starting out from a very low base”, Clear International’s analysts explains.

Within the big 7 economies of Western Europe all are forecast to have accelerating GDP growth and higher business investment. The suggestion is that this positive trend of economic development in 2015/16 will lead to a further increase in the trailer market in 2016.

The forecast for new trailer demand is that it will exceed the level of 2006 in 2016. It remains unlikely that the demand level of 2007/8 will be seen again. However, 2016 will have the third highest trailer registrations level on record. A cyclical slowdown is forecast in 2018.

Trailer production, having fallen by 9.2 per cent from the 2011 level, had a 12.2 per cent increase in 2014 and 9.6 per cent is forecast for 2015. A further increase is expected in 2016.

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