Continuing demand

07 March 2008

Following the record number of mahines sold in 2005, western europe's construction equipment market grew by +14% in 2006 [the last year figures are available] to over 187000 units, according to market research company Off-Highway Research. Of this, wheeled loaders accounted for just over 22500 units.

This can be broken down to machines under 80 hp (60 kW) – 9925 units – and machines above 80 hp (60 kW) – 12669 units. Off-Highway Research's managing director, David Phillips told CE the market for smaller machines is largerly divided between germany and France, which together account for 75% of the region's total.

German sales reached 5900 units, while French rental companies continued to invest in renewing their fleets. As a result the market rose by +21%.

Further growth can be expected in Germany in 2007, which will “push up” total European demand to over 10000 units. After that a “very modest decline” to about 8500 units a year can be expected.

A point echoed by Terex's wheeled loader project manager, Andreas Hactergal. “The last 12 months have been a very good year for us, pushed by France and Germany, especially for compact wheeled loaders.”

However, Eastern Europe is “booming,” h e told CE. Although this has been low volumes, “about 100 machines per horsepower class”, since 2006 there has been a big increase in demand.

For machines under 80 hp (60 kW), rental is growing in importance. In 2006, said Mr Hactergal, 40% of Terex's 80 hp (45 to 60 kW) power band and wheeled loaders 58% of its machines in the 0 to 40 hp (0 to 30 kW) powerband were sold “through rental channels”.

There has also been strong demand for mach nes above 80 hp (60 kW), up +14% to 12700 units in 2006.

Demand is “more evenly spread” than for compact wheeled loaders, and there is a wider range of applications, which often help to minimise a downturn in demand.

A point Volvo's Jonas Thoursie, director of marketing wheeled loaders, agrees with. “In general people are screaming for machines, and they're buying everything they can get their hands on,” he said. “Demand has been very strong in Germany and Eastern Europe with contractors, owner operators and forestry companies buying as much as they can get.”

Demand is forecast to rise again in 2007, largely as a result of the ongoing recovery in Germany, although a decline to around 10600 units a year can be expected.

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