Equipment sales grow

25 April 2008

World: Sales of construction equipment in the main global markets grew +9% last year, according to the latest report by Off-Highway Research. Unit sales in North America, China, Japan and Western Europe totalled 611251 machines in 2005, up from the 561057 sold in 2004.

The North American market was most buoyant last year with a +16% rise in sales, taking the market to a record volume of 233469 machines. Off-Highway Research's report suggests that high demand for articulated dump trucks, mini excavators, crawler excavators and telescopic handlers in North America boosted sales well above the previously forecast +3% increase. Growth in North America is expected to continue this year but at a lower rate of +5%.

Sales in Western Europe and Japan both increased +8% last year to 163791 and 65859 units respectively, up from 150631 and 61854 machines in 2004.

According to Off-Highway Research, the growth in the Western European market can be attributed to the combination of the rising popularity of equipment rental, low inflation and interest rates, and rising business confidence. However, 2005's sales volume is expected to represent the peak of demand for at least the next two to three years. Sales are expected to decline of -5% this year.

The increased demand in Japan was higher than the +1% previously predicted by Off-Highway Research's 2005 report.

The gains were due to growth in the mini and crawler excavator markets but this is not expected to continue this year, with a decline of -12% forecast.

Financial controls imposed by the Chinese Government in April 2004 appear to have steadied the construction equipment market with growth just +1% in 2005. A more robust gain of +4% is expected in 2006, taking equipment sales in China to 156045 units.

Overall, Off-Highway Research forecasts that the global construction market will increase +0.8% in 2006, with higher demand in North America and China offsetting declines in Europe and Japan.

• For more information, visit www.offhighway.co.uk

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