Sectoral conditions

Sales markets

Measured in terms of the number of new trucks ordered, the global market for industrial trucks expanded by 6.9 per cent in 2013, exceeding the threshold of one million trucks for the first time. The market therefore more than made up for the decline of 3.1 per cent in the previous year, despite subdued macroeconomic conditions. Diesel trucks (up by 8.0 per cent) and warehouse technology products (up by 7.1 per cent) grew at a similarly high rate, whereas growth in electric forklift trucks (up by 3.6 per cent) was more muted.

The bulk of the unit increase (47.6 per cent) was accounted for by the Chinese market, which generated growth of 14.4 per cent. The KION Group estimates that the main beneficiaries of this growth were the value and economy price segments, predominantly diesel trucks. North America also made a substantial contribution to the global market’s recovery, registering growth of 10.9 per cent.

Growth rates in the KION Group’s main sales markets varied in 2013. Western Europe, which had seen a decline of 7.1 per cent in 2012, remained flat in 2013 with growth of just 0.3 per cent – despite stabilisation and a slight recovery towards the end of the year. The main reason for this was the marked weakness of the market in Germany, which experienced a 4.3 per cent decline in the number of trucks ordered, above all due to declining demand in the first half of the year. However, the markets in France, Italy and the United Kingdom were largely stable. Eastern Europe grew by a substantial 7.8 per cent, although the biggest individual market, Russia, was unable to maintain its pace from the previous year and recorded growth of just 0.7 per cent. China generated double-digit growth, picking up pace as the year progressed, while the other Asian emerging markets grew at comparatively moderate rates. By contrast, the material handling market in Brazil – the largest individual market in South America – enjoyed a boom although it partly stemmed from special government programmes designed to boost investment. Measured in terms of the number of trucks, order intake grew by about a third in Brazil. >> Table 014

Global industrial truck market (order intake)



>> TABLE 014

in thousand units




Source: WITS/FEM





Western Europe




Eastern Europe




North America




Central & South America




Asia (excl. Japan)




Rest of world








Procurement markets

Commodity prices continue to have a direct impact on around a quarter of the cost of the materials needed to manufacture an industrial truck in the KION Group.

The average price over the year for steel, the most important commodity, fell significantly compared with 2012 owing to weaker economic conditions. Prices for lead-acid batteries, which make up a significant proportion of the total price of electric trucks, are particularly dependent on lead prices on the metal exchanges. However, these price fluctuations are borne by customers owing to the way in which contracts are formulated. Manufacturing costs are also influenced to a slight extent by the prices for copper and rubber, which were also down year on year.

Energy prices were slightly lower in 2013 than they had been in the previous year. The price of Brent crude oil, which is quoted in US dollars and affects the price of other fuels and plastic, went up considerably during 2013 owing to the crisis in Syria, although the average price over the year was 5.8 per cent below the price for the previous year.