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900,000 units? Never say never!

We have passed the half-way mark in 2017 and China’s heavy-duty truck market is showing no signs of slowing down.

In fact, it has become the fastest growing segment this year for the industry, even faster than SUVs and new energy vehicles.

Based on the latest figures from manufacturers, China sold 95,000 heavy-duty trucks in June, up 60 percent year-on-year, bringing first-half sales to more than 580,000 units.

How significant is that number?

It is more than the number of heavy-duty trucks sold in all of 2015 and represents a net addition of 240,000 units over the same previous period.

What made it also significant was that it came in a month that is usually weak when it comes to heavy-duty truck sales. As the feature pointed out, the previous six years from 2011 to 2016, average June heavy-duty truck sales totaled only 60,000 units.

And just when nobody thought it would happen again, the 95,000 units sold were even higher than the previous June sales record achieved in 2010, when sales zoomed past the one million-unit mark.

Will we see another year with sales of one million heavy-duty trucks? That is unlikely to happen again but what is also unlikely to happen is average monthly sales tanking by two-thirds from about 96,000 units in the first half to just over 30,000 units a month in the second-half of the year, as the feature article predicted in order for sales to hit the 900,000-unit mark for the year.

If average sales in the second half of 2017 fall somewhere in between 96,000 and 30,000 units, there could be an outside chance for sales to approach 1 million units again!

Many factors are contributed together to make this a unique and special year for heavy-duty truck sales. The GB1589-2016 policy, the oversize and overloading clamp down, the rebounding fixed asset (infrastructure) investment, the China V emissions standards that just went into effect and the fact that owners are upgrading their vehicles that were purchased from the previous boom seven years ago, which is exactly the lifecycle time for a heavy-duty truck in China. There were simply a lot of pre-buy and forced-buy effects driven primarily by new regulations.

It is safe to predict that heavy-duty truck sales in the second half of 2017 will most likely be lower than the 580,000 units sold in the first half as policy effects weaken. CBU/CAR believes chances are high that sales for the year will break 900,000 units.

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