Sectoral conditions

Sales markets

In 2014, the global market for industrial trucks hit a new record level of almost 1.1 million vehicles ordered, with even stronger market growth than in 2013. Across all regions and product types, the number of new trucks ordered was up by 7.8 per cent (2013: 6.9 per cent). The sharpest upturn was in the sales figures for electric forklift trucks (up by 13.3 per cent), an area of business that had lagged behind the overall market in 2013. Sales of warehouse technology products also increased significantly by 10.8 per cent but unit sales of IC trucks failed to match the 2013 growth rate, achieving a rise of just 3.5 per cent.

Most of the growth in unit sales was accounted for by western Europe (up by 11.5 per cent), China (up by 10.2 per cent) and North America (up by 9.2 per cent). The western European market therefore rallied significantly following the stagnation in 2013 (0.3 per cent growth), the principal growth drivers in this case being pent-up demand (primarily in southern European markets) and, at a more structural level, the replacement of old trucks. Germany, the largest single market in western Europe, gained 10.3 per cent and was therefore almost at the western European average. Growth in Spain (up by 42.6 per cent), the United Kingdom (up by 12.6 per cent) and Italy (up by 15.7 per cent) was more rapid than in other neighbouring European countries, but there was hardly any gain in the French market at all.

In overall terms, the eastern European market flatlined (down by 0.7 per cent). The significant drop in unit sales in Russia (down by 19.2 per cent) was almost offset by gains elsewhere, particularly higher sales figures in Poland, the Czech Republic and in Hungary.

As in 2013, China notched up double-digit growth (10.2 per cent), the main impetus coming from electric forklift trucks and warehouse technology equipment. In contrast, the total number of units sold in Brazil, the largest single market in South America, fell by 13.0 per cent. > TABLE 014

Global industrial truck market (order intake)




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 approximately one 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 compared with 2013 owing to the persistently modest level of economic growth. Manufacturing costs are also influenced to a lesser extent by the prices for copper and rubber, which were also down year on year. The price of oil, a useful price indicator for plastic products, fell markedly during the second half of the year and overall was below the average for 2013.

On the other hand, however, higher payroll and ancillary wage costs had an adverse impact on unit costs. In overall terms, producer prices for input goods in the eurozone only fell by a negligible amount.