Market Size, Shares & Analysis
Tow truck bodies are designed to tow, recover or transport a disabled, illegally parked or abandoned motor vehicle or a vehicle which has been involved in an accident. Tow trucks are categorized as tow trucks or rollback carriers. While tow trucks are towing vehicles, rollback carriers are hauling vehicles. Tow truck bodies are equipped with either a towing device or a combination of towing and recovery devices. Tow trucks with recovery devices are referred to as wreckers.
Tow truck bodies and rollback carriers are sold either on a stand-alone basis or as turnkey units. In case of stand-alone body sales, the tow truck bodies are generally shipped to the distributors where the body is installed on truck chassis. In case of turnkey units, the bodies are installed on truck chassis by the body manufacturer. Tow truck body and rollback carrier fabrication is estimated at $500 million in 2011.
The tow truck body and rollback carrier industry has very few manufacturers, with two companies—Miller Industries and Jerr-Dan Corp.—dominating the North American market. Miller and Jerr-Dan are national players with extensive distribution networks across North America.
The market for tow truck bodies and rollback carriers includes towing and recovery agencies, automobile dealers, salvage industry and equipment transport service providers. The market for tow truck bodies and rollback carriers also includes government departments that usually own tow trucks, such as police departments, fire departments, transportation authorities and departments of public works.
Demand for tow trucks and rollback carriers was negatively impacted by the global economic crisis, with demand contracting by an estimated 48% in 2009 over 2006. The segment has experienced a recovery since 2010, with production up an estimated 32% and 26% in 2010 and 2011.The recovery in the tow truck body segment was mainly on account of government-related orders, received by the market leader Miller Industries in the second half of 2008, the deliveries of which continued until the fourth quarter of 2011.
The outlook for 2012 in this segment remains positive, mainly driven by commercial replacement demand. Government-related demand is unlikely to play as big a role as it did in 2010 and 2011. In addition to historical production numbers from 2006 – 2011, forecasts for the years 2012 – 2016 are included in this report.
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