The traditional peak selling season for heavy-duty trucks was a no show in March as sales dropped 32 percent year-on-year. Sales in the first quarter fell 34 percent to 133,700 units.
Dealers of key heavy-duty truck selling regions have been rather pessimistic about sales prospects for the remainder of the year (see FEATURE on p. 1). The sentiment is clear: 2015 will be a down year for heavy-duty trucks due to slowed macroeconomic growth and no quick shot to the market.
The weakening economy has no doubt hindered the development of the manufacturing and real estate sectors. The lack of infrastructure construction projects forced closure or relocation of manufacturing plants, which in turn hindered sales of load trucks, mixers and construction machineries. Upcoming policies such as new regulations on mixer volumes, dangerous goods transportation and slag trucks all brought uncertainties to the market. The persistent effect of the implementation of State-IV emissions standards hindered sales in some regions as well.
It is not all bad news, though. In fact, March sales increased 139.6 percent over February. Major truck manufacturers such as FAW Jiefang, Beiqi-Foton, CNHTC, Shacman, SAIC-IVECO-Hongyan and Hualing all reported big orders of trucks in March and April. The elimination of yellow-labeled vehicles also boosted sales in some regions. E-commerce and logistics transportation industry will be boosted after May thanks to traditional e-shopping sprees on June 18, November 11, December 12, etc.
It is estimated that the “One Belt One Road” strategy will bring ¥400 billion ($64 billion) investment to the transportation market. Two policies released recently will also stimulate the real estate industry. But these are expected to have a long-term positive effect on the market rather than a short-term boost.
All in all, the market in the second half may bounce back compared with the gloomy first quarter, but a negative growth for the year is a foregone conclusion.
Roman Mathyssek, a truck industry expert, predicted two years ago that the heavy-duty truck market this year would see sales of 657,000 units.
It looks like he may have been too optimistic and the market may fail to reach 600,000 units this year, the worst since 2012.