Consulting group CLEAR has revised its forecast for the West European trailer market to reflect improving economies. Instead of demand dropping by approximately 15% in 2018, a decline in demand of 9% is now forecast, followed by a further small drop in 2019 leading to a total shrinking of the market by 13% over the two years.

For 2017, it is still expected that the demand for trailers will increase in the first half of the year but decline slightly in the second half.  Overall however, 2017 will now see a 2% increase in registrations rather than a 2% fall.

Following the decline in demand in 2018/19 there will be a return to growth in trailer sales in 2020/21.  Furthermore, as we move into the 2020s it is likely that demand for commercial vehicles will follow an upward path so that by mid-decade we will be approaching levels above those of 2017.

The outcome of these changes is that 30,000 trailers have been added to the forecast during the 2017-21 period, with roughly half of that total boosting the 2018 figure.  Most of these extra trailers added to the forecast will be sold in the Big 7 countries of Germany, France, the UK, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium, with Italy performing particularly well after its slow recovery from the GFC of 2009.

Said Gary Beecroft, director of CLEAR, “The Brexit effect, which has already dropped the UK investment forecast close to zero for the 2016-18 period, will result in uncertainty and low business confidence during the runup to the UK leaving the EU in 2019.  However when (if) the brexit terms have been settled there will be a resumption of trailer market growth.”