Rail vehicle manufacturers defy the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and look to the future with optimism
The global COVID-19 pandemic has also hit the market for rail vehicle manufacturers, which generated total sales of around EUR 52.8 billion in 2020. The first half of the year in particular saw plant closures and short-time working, as well as delays in supply chains. In some cases, manufacturers were already able to make up for production backlogs in the second half of the year. Overall, many of the manufacturers are optimistic about the future, despite the continuing effects of the pandemic. The merger of Alstom and Bombardier Transportation could create a new European heavyweight that could compete in parts with the global market leader CRRC. At this stage, the conditions (sale of the Alstom plant in Reichshoffen/France, parts of the Bombardier plant in Hennigsdorf near Berlin) for approval of the merger have not yet been met. Topics such as digitalization and sustainability offer manufacturers new fields for growth and innovation. These and other topics are analyzed in the current study "Worldwide Rolling Stock Manufacturers 2021" by SCI Verkehr.
According to estimates by SCI Verkehr, global sales of rail vehicles in 2020 amounted to EUR 52.8 billion, down from the previous year's level of EUR 58.4 billion. The top 10 manufacturers accounted for 72% of sales. As the official merger of Alstom and Bombardier Transportation did not take place until January 2021, both companies are included in the ranking both together and still as individual companies. Overall, there were only minor changes in the ranking among the established manufacturers: Siemens Mobility and TMH swapped places and are ranked 4th (Siemens) and 5th (TMH) respectively in 2020. The Spanish manufacturer CAF and the Indian manufacturer Integral Coach Factory (ICF) are represented in the top 10 ranking for the first time in 2020, displacing Wabtec (USA) and Trinity Rail (USA) to the lower ranks.
The merger of Alstom and Bombardier Transportation would create a new European heavyweight in the global market for rail vehicles. In segments such as electric multiple units and light-rail vehicles, Bombardier was already the leader before the merger and together with Alstom could now gain a significant lead over the competition. In other segments such as high-speed trains or metros, the Chinese manufacturer CRRC remains by far the world market leader.
In addition to consolidation, there is expansion into new markets, as well as localization of production through cooperation with domestic manufacturers. In some countries, such as Turkey or Egypt, the production of rail vehicles in the own country is supported in order to strengthen the own economy and to become less dependent on global manufacturers. Other opportunities for manufacturers to grow in the future are innovations in the field of digitalization and sustainability. Large manufacturers such as Siemens Mobility or Alstom are already active in the area of digitalization, partly through cooperations with rail transport companies or with start-ups, and are working on topics such as digital maintenance, mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) or digital monitoring, among others.
The market study "Worldwide Rolling Stock Manufacturers 2021" is available in English from SCI Verkehr GmbH from 7th October 2021 (www.sci.de/shop/). A data appendix in Excel format is also available for the study, which presents all the figures included in the study in a transparent and clear manner.
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