1.1 Definition and scope of study
A trailer is a vehicle without an engine that is designed to be pulled by motor vehicles that are fitted with proper towing systems and, if necessary, an appropriate braking system, and which are referred to as tractors. It differs from a semi-trailer which is the unpowered part of trucks that have only rear wheels, which are connected to the carrier vehicle through the latter's fifth wheel. Trailers, on the other hand, feature front and rear axles and wheels, as well as a hook or drawbar that connects them to the carrier vehicle. In Europe there is a specific regulation for trailers: the width of the trailer is a maximum of 2.50 m and must be equal to the width of the towing vehicle, increased by 0.7 m and rounded off to the nearest 0.5 or greater. The overall length, including the towing vehicle, shall not exceed 18.35 m, but each country has its specific rules that must be in accordance with the European one. All the characteristics of the trailer must be shown on the registration certificate of the motor vehicle. In the USA for examples, there are different regulations.
The global trailer market has been estimated of $54.9 billion in 2020 and is then expected to grow at a CAGR of 11% from 2021 and reach $73.4 billion in 2023.
Many motorists in Italy use car trailers to improve their vehicle's load capacity or for specific transports; the most common are trailers with one or two axles used to transport goods or tailored to a specific application: transporting motorcycles, cars, horses, or sports equipment. There are simpler ones, known as appendix trolleys, as well as more advanced ones with self-braking systems. A towing hook is required for the vehicle to which it is attached, which must sometimes be properly installed and approved. Total length, including towing devices, must not exceed 12 meters, excluding semi-trailers, according to article n°61 C.d.S. Articulated vehicles shall not exceed a total length of 16.50 meters, but they may reach 18 meters on certain routes. A basic trailer costs an average of 1210 euros in Italy, including VAT, and does not include the documentation for a tow hook if the car does not have one. Between stamp tax and commission to the DMV, the costs of homologation are roughly 40 euros. The installation of the hook, which costs between 100 and 150 euros, is the most significant cost.
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