Outlook for Eastern European heavy trailer sales looks slightly weaker in 2024/25 than forecast

*However, the outlook for the 2024-28 period is for trailer demand 50% higher than in 2015-19

Trailer market analyst CLEAR International has just issued its April 2024 forecast for the East European Heavy Trailer Market. The most significant change in the East European Trailer Market during 2023 has been the large increase in demand for new trailers in both Russia and Turkey. The main driver in Turkey was runaway inflation, which has been as high as 70%. Rather than watch their cash in the bank devalue on an almost daily basis, businesses have invested in assets that will retain some value including both trailers and trucks.

As a result the trailer market in Turkey finished the year up by 25% over 2022, which itself was a record year for registrations. This made Turkey the largest market for trailers in Eastern Europe in 2023. Turkey had relatively low demand for trucks and trailers in 2016-20, so a large amount of catch-up demand had accumulated.

Russia, the largest trailer market in Eastern Europe until 2010, suffered a 50% fall in demand between 2011 and 2015, largely as a consequence of the annexation of the Crimea, but had an astonishing recovery in 2017/18, and was the largest market once again in 2019-20. Russia’s commercial vehicle market has not suffered as much as was expected as a result of the war in Ukraine. It is now sourcing vehicles from China which previously would have been imported from Europe, but are no longer available as a result of sanctions.

In 2023 the Russian government moved the country onto a war footing. This included buying significant quantities of transport assets including trailers. As a result the trailer market grew by 57%.

2022 saw a 0.2% fall in trailer demand in Eastern Europe due to very mixed outcomes for different countries. Markets most affected by the war in Ukraine, which included Russia and Belarus, had significant falls in registrations. Poland also had a large fall in sales but that was due to having record demand for trailers in 2021, which took registrations to an unsustainable level. Other countries had double digit percentage growth. The prognosis for the 2024-2028 period has been downgraded in every year, with the exception of the Russia market.

“This report outlines when, where and how quickly the trailer market will develop through to 2028, according to Gary Beecroft, Managing Director of CLEAR International who commented: “Trailer market sales for 2024/25 will be very slightly lower than forecast in September 2023.”