Schmitz Cargobull trail blazes curtainsiders and rigids 21 December 2009

Despite the European market for curtainsiders finishing down 90%, Schmitz Cargobull chose the close of 2009 to launch, you guessed it, a curtainsider – and to state that it's gunning for number one.

UK managing director Tom Macallan explains that, in the UK, the trailer manufacturer was bolstered last year by the largely unscathed supermarket and pharmaceutical sectors.

As a result, it took 40% of refrigerated trailers and 17% of curtainsider sales in the UK and Ireland – and saw RM contracts rise by 75% to 15% of sales.

Macallan also points out that Schmitz UK has massively cut costs – consolidating from two factories at its Harelaw, Co Durham home to a single, multi-product line, and moving to a flexible workforce, with improved production methods driven by lean manufacturing.

"With the launch of our new fixed roof, triaxial curtainsider and engineering developments, such as new lightweight construction and free-position pillars, we expect to significantly improve our market share," he insists.

And there's more. Schmitz Cargobull is making its first UK foray into rigids, with technical innovations similar to those on its curtainsider, delivering operational and maintenance benefits that will "open a potential market of 1,500 units".

Macallan expects further casualties among trailer builders, particularly those that depend on curtainsiders, and agrees that the new Schmitz approach is about widening its appeal – especially among existing operator's fleets.

"Whereas we were primarily about Euroliners, now we're about everything. We have a good order book for all sorts of variants, and that means we're better placed than many of our competitors to handle the upturn when it comes," he says.

Brian Tinham

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Schmitz Cargobull (UK) Ltd

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