Newton Trailers Limited News

October is here

Somehow we have staggered through to October 2023.  What a weird year. Apart from everyone appears to be getting older it is hard to say anything about 2023. A non year year.  The competition is getting busy. Companies struggling to find the volumes in their home markets, like Benalu, Schmitz, Ozgul (Colson), Mega, STAS and a whole range of others are trying to find market in the UK. And fair dooze they are finding some sales. How good they are and how long they will persist when their own markets crank back up in 2024 is anyone's guess. Like some Zombie that will not die, or perhaps more like the Mummy Returns and then ....returns again, Fruehauf has come alive and is hitting the numbers.  Fruehauf appears infinitely elastic in how far you can stretch a brand without it snapping. So like the Grand National the race is full of old names and new names. How many will make it around the course and how many will retire is simply unknowable. 

Interest rates are complicating the discussions. Such a long time at low rates and then now a sudden spike has led to gold star customers being served rates from 8 to 9 per cent and silver and bronze into the early teens. That is a painful issue that cannot be easily addressed. Perhaps Q1 2024 will help easy the interest rates although a Labour government is not normally a great thing for our industry.

So now we are looking to 2024 there will be a big falling out of company names as they either find a market in the UK or retreat - take market share or leave the battlefield. Interest rates and basic need will dictate the total size of the market. Almost makes you want to skip a year and go straight to 2025.

Posted by Andrew on 09/10/2023

Autumn is here - well harvest is here which is close enough

So 2023 harvest has started in the UK.  

Reports of combine operating in the field so Lincolnshire suggest that summer is over and autumn is here. So TASCC hauliers everywhere will be rolling soon. 

This used to be such an important market for bulk hauliers but with the efficiency of the farming and storage industries today it can be done and dusted in 4 weeks. Either way Newton wish you luck and if you need spare parts to keep the trailers running on all makes - we are here and online.



Posted by Andrew on 10/07/2023

Summer days drifting away.....

Summer days drifting away.....

not the greatest fan of that song or summer days in general. More of a Spring and Autumn fan. But it does bring on harvest and that is only 3 weeks away now, before powering into sugar beet, apples, then potatoes and carrots...

On the trailer scene suppliers are starting to use phrases like 2007 again.... which no one wants to hear. Certainly European manufacturers are on their arse. One French manufacturer is publishing output at about 30% - so guess what is around the corner - price wars - or is it?

Nothing is quite certain in the current cycle. Normally price drops to support wilting sales. But most manufacturers are weak from Covid or still trying to bring their factories back into consistent output. Sub suppliers such as Wabco or Knorr Bremse or axle suppliers have been hit by huge software outages or even factory fires. It is a strange world when a factory would prefer the outcome of a fire to the outcome of an IT hack! But there you go.

So crystal balls are in short supply and no doubt the wheels will rotate - companies will fall out with each other, and some manufacturers get sold to others such as Legras to Benalu. Now that was an interesting one. A strong French manufacturer purchasing a strong French manufacturer.  Does that make an even stronger factory or confusion. Certainly the world of moving floors looks fragile with many companies investing in extra capacity just as sales tumble. Ouch.

Just rubbing in the sun cream now.

Posted by Andrew on 16/06/2023

European Market

On a similar theme to the last blog.  Uncertainty abounds.

Certainly the European Trailer market is bombing at the moment. As much as it is fun to enjoy French pain - this could have onward implications for us too.

The French trailer market is running as low as 30% of normal - and that is a second year of down. This will mean that French manufacturers of tipping trailers and floors will be searching for exports at any price.  So the UK could see price pressure building as the European targets us. The flip side of this is that labour price pressure is riding on the wave of alumininium and energy price increases. So there is a squeeze on input prices and a squeeze on selling prices.  This has meant some Europeans and UK manufacturers seeing significant losses.

We hear and will see UK manufacturers once again up for sale in both the floor and tipping trailer market. But who would want to purchase small UK manufacturers at a time when the the big Europeans are turning their gaze towards the UK as a possible outlet to dump product?

Interesting times as always.

Posted by Andrew on 16/05/2023

The Fog Of The Present

The Fog of The Present

As is normal we would roll with either of the following to sum up the present:

Everyone has a Plan until they get punched in the face.

The Fog of War.

Understanding where the UK Tipping Trailer Market is heading in 2023 is at best a dark art but mostly likely just reactionary to the conditions experienced this week. A statement of the obvious. Anyone with 'a plan' at the moment is really just a gambler in the casino. The long term trajectory for UK PLC is clearly negative over the next 30 years. Our leaders and teachers are not addressing the need for global competitive advantage for the UK to allow us to enjoy a better standard of living than our neighbours. We are simply relying on the legacy of empire - we have built up a world beating amount of capital which is slowly or stepwise being consumed by our population. As economists would put it - we are missing the Y factor. This being, taking the standard resources that we sit on as a country, and by efficiency and clever national thinking getting more out of those resources than the competition could or will.

So if this is true then the purchasing power of the UK PLC tipping trailer and moving floor base will be trending downwards too - unless there are factors to protect our sector as an 'island of excellence'. If our UK haulier purchasing power is tracking downwards then we will be looking towards the lowest price producers of equipment and not top end. So for a while we will hang on to our aspirations of a Top End Scania and a top end trailer. This will drift downwards. So perhaps we should look to the countries that already sit in that mix - Chad or Mali spring to mind - always reminds me of the comfort of the British Armed Forces looking up and noticing the label on their parachute proudly states 'Made in Chad'. More likely we are tracking lower wealth countries such as Romania, Poland, Spain etc.  We may also being looking for longer life cycles or greater survivabilty from our products and increased repairability. That might push the other way - buy quality buy once argument - the STAS, Knapen, Titan solution. Arguably the Titan can give 20 years of service in a tough environment. Titan Trailers have evolved in a nasty American waste market where the work is brutal and the distance to repair shops can be high. In my opinion a Titan can outlast its nearest competitors by almost double the life and still remain surprisingly sharp and tidy. I would consider myself bruised by 25 years in this industry and I cannot completely explain how the Titan does it - it just does. If you look at the Fred Sherwood fleet - there are 2004 Titans that from the outside look like 2018 trailers. Clearly satanic rituals must have been performed in Canada to achieve this engineering miracle. 

So how big will the market be in 2023 for trailers in our class? Supply side problems have diminished and become less of an issue in Q1. Energy costs are high. Labour costs are actively being negotiated but are unlikely to be less than a 10 per cent increase into Q2 Q3. Probably interest rates rises will decreasing the affordability of large priced trailers will be the larger factor. IMHO we have some more interest rate increases yet to absorb. With joy I might write 'Fuck the Bank Of England'. Despite the clevers of the Bank's Committees their hindsight seems exemplary but their foresight no better than mine or yours. Retail finance rates will still be climbing into 2024 and the pool of providers drying up. The expression that our lending 'is closed to wheels' will start being used again. Banks are fearful of bad lending and in some boardroom or rather plush London restauarant that expression will get used and large lenders will just STOP lending to our industry. This will allow rates of the remaining lenders to rise still higher as scarcity of appetite to lend plus searching for higher BETA will push rates higher. The Gold standard will be 6 percent, Silver 8 to 12 percent and the Bronze just disappear.  I would suggest that the market size will be deflated and be travelling about 60% of historic levels. This may not have any real world affect on companies such as Fruehauf who are still in recovery and discovery mode having come out yet again from bankruptcy. (And remember the words of the Chief Economist to Downing Street - 'it took extreme skill to make a company go bankrupt during Covid'. Wilcox, PPG, Aliweld, KBF etc also look to be stuck in limited ruts and unable to change their market positions. So once again it will be the scale professional European manufacturers - who also have their woes - to absorb market share in the UK in 2023 and 2024. There are the cheap end suppliers from Poland and Turkey entering the market for the first time and top end Manufacturers increasing their market share enormously. STAS for example may have had about 40% market share for the first time in the UK.

So to set sale into the second half of 2023 and then into 2024 confidently and with a plan means that you either have a direct line to Mystic Meg or you will get punched on the nose. But I do predit tricky times for our industry and about a 60% market size for the rolling 12 month period. Happy to be wrong!!

God Bless You All - and with the usual sign off this Blog are but the musings and ramblings of a deranged mind and should only be held up in the court of Law as anything other than total drivel. Plenty of other opinions are available - contact me at if you want to chew the cud.

Posted by Andrew on 04/04/2023

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