Sectoral conditions

Sales markets

In 2015 the global market for industrial trucks grew visibly slower than in the prior year, expanding by 1.0 per cent (2014: 7.8 per cent). A total of 1.1 million trucks were ordered across all regions and product types.

In line with the long-term trends identified by the KION Group, sales in the overall market were easily outstripped by sales of warehouse trucks (up by 11.0 per cent) and electric forklift trucks (up by 6.0 per cent). Demand for these, in combination with automation solutions, is being driven by the growing e-commerce sector. Electric forklift trucks are also benefiting from increasingly strict emissions regulations across all regions as well as major advances in battery-charging technology. Unit sales of IC trucks fell by 9.6 per cent, however, which was primarily due to the sharp decline in unit sales in China.

Western Europe (up by 11.3 per cent) and North America (up by 7.1 per cent) were the main contributors to the moderate rise in global unit sales. In western Europe, there was another substantial release of pent-up demand in the southern European countries in 2015. Growth in the United Kingdom (up by 14.5 per cent), Spain (up by 26.4 per cent) and Italy (up by 21.1 per cent) was above the market average, while Germany lagged behind the market with a growth rate of 8.4 per cent. France expanded by 12.3 per cent.

Orders in eastern Europe (excluding Russia) rose by 9.7 per cent. Higher sales figures were recorded in Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary in particular but also in the smaller markets of Romania and Slovakia. The Russian market continued on its steep downward trajectory from 2014, contracting by 39.3 per cent.

In China there was a significant decline in orders in 2015 (down by 12.8 per cent), after the market had grown by a double-digit percentage amount in the prior year. Only growth in warehouse trucks was on a par with 2014. Brazil, the largest single market in South America, contracted by 44.2 per cent, with sales falling heavily in all product categories, while Chile and Argentina posted increases. > 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 2014 owing to the slowdown in growth, particularly in China. Manufacturing costs are also influenced – albeit it 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, was well below the 2014 average.

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