China sold 429,000 heavy-duty trucks in the first half of 2014, up 6.53 percent.
It was the only truck segment that maintained growth for the period. Sales in February grew the most, at 38.18 percent, but May and June saw consecutive declines, bringing first-half growth down to single digit.
The rise of the semi-trailer segment has contributed to industry growth. The country sold 144,300 semi-trailers through June, up 14.89 percent. January and February saw sales grow more than 40 percent, which can be attributed to the promotional policies of logistics industry at the beginning of the year. The rapid growth of e-commerce triggered the demand for quick logistics. Investment of logistics parks, establishment of logistics networks, and the popularity of trailer transportation all promoted the growth of semi-trailers, especially that of medium- and high-end ones. According to the State Council working conference on logistics industry led by Premier Li Keqiang in June, the government will encourage cost reduction of logistics industry, promote large-scale logistics enterprises, and improve logistics infrastructure constructions, which will further promote the semi-trailer market in the future.
As growth of real estate investment remained sluggish, sales of engineering trucks continued to drop in the first half. The declining demand of resources products such as coal also negatively affected the self-dumper market.
Sales of the top 10 heavy-duty truck makers accounted for around 96.7 percent of total sector sales. Dongfeng Commercial Vehicle remained as the sector leader by selling 86,200 units. CNHTC surpassed FAW Jiefang into second place, with sales up 10.95 percent. Beiqi-Foton and Shaanxi Auto also shrunk their gap from the top three. JAC witnessed an increase of 34.4 percent, topping the sector in volume growth, thanks to its overall strategy of products upgrading and a shift of focus to commercial vehicles. Sales at Beiben continued to decline, down by nearly 20 percent.
Emissions standards upgrading and phasing out of yellow-labeled (heavy-pollutant) trucks/old vehicles may be incentives for the heavy-duty truck market in the second half. However, long-term and stable development will still rely on good economic environment, products upgrading and improvement of production structure.
Stricter policies on the implementation of the State-IV emissions standards starting from the first quarter of 2013 led large amount of purchase of State-III emissions standards-compliant heavy-duty trucks. Sales of heavy-duty trucks sharply dropped starting from May, and the tendency is about to continue in July and August as the two months are traditional low seasons for the year.
The start of large number of infrastructure construction projects may boost the industry as fixed assets investment is closely tied with the heavy-duty truck industry.
As the economy recovers, sales in the third quarter should rebound, but not too significantly.