UPDATEChina’s heavy-duty truck sales increased 2.6 percent to 1.17 million units in 2019, according to data released by China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) on January 13.
BEIJING – As the saying goes: “never say never.”
China’s heavy-duty truck sales hit a new record for the second year in a row, growing 2 percent to nearly 1.17 million units, topping the 2018 record of nearly 1.15 million units by about 20,000 units, according to data obtained by cvworld.cn.
The record came after a strong second half which saw sales grew 7 percent year-on-year and an even stronger fourth quarter with sales up 11 percent. In December, sales grew by about 4 percent to 86,000 units.
Many had expected a fall in heavy-duty truck sales in 2019 at the beginning of the year. Instead, another record was broken.
Sales of top 10 HDT manufacturers in December 2019 (in units)
|YTD Rank||Make||DEC 2019||% YOY||YTD||%||% Share|
Eight months of growth and 56:44 ratio in first-/second-half sales
Heavy-duty truck sales had eight months of growth in 2019, including six consecutive months of growth in the second half of the year. All negative growths happened in the first half of the year. July, August, September, October, November and December sales grew 1.5, 2, 7.5, 14.1, 13.8 and 4 percent, respectively, while February and March sales grew 4.3 and 7.1 percent. January, April, May and June sales fell 9.9, 3.3, 4.7 and 7.5 percent respectively.
The ratio of first-half (sales down 2 percent) to second-half (sales up 7 percent) sales was 56:44, unlike the 60:40 ratio in 2018, which meant it was slightly more favorable for manufacturers and dealers to tweak their resources to better respond to the changing market.
Natural gas trucks dominate first half, second half buoyed by three factors
It was a tail of two different stories for the heavy-duty truck market in the first half of 2019 as sales gushed in the Q1 but weakened in the Q2. March saw an all-time monthly sales record of 148,800 units but sales fell for three consecutive months from April to June.
A major highlight in the first half of 2019 was the natural gas heavy-duty truck segment, which saw a gush in sales due to the fact that China 6 emissions standards for natural gas vehicles went into effect nationally on July 1, which pulled sales of China 5 emissions standards-compliant natural gas heavy-duty truck sales forward. That indirectly led to the weakening of the natural gas heavy-duty truck market in the second half of 2019.
Nevertheless the market surprised expectations yet again in the second half with six straight months of year-on-year sales growths, driven mainly by three factors.
First, the market got an extra dose of boost toward the end of Q3 as the deadline to eliminate China 3 emissions standards diesel trucks got closer, fiscal policies came out aimed at encouraging the elimination of these trucks and various regions especially those under pressure to tackle air pollution strengthened restrictions on the operation and use of these trucks. Many regions also announced timelines for phased reduction of subsidies for replacement of China 3 emissions trucks with December 31, 2019 and June 30, 2020 as two key deadlines, which will likely result in demand spikes.
Second, the clamp down on overloading and short-distance transport on China’s national roadways following the Wuxi bridge collapse incident in October boosted demand for heavy-duty trucks in Q4.
Third, an early Chinese New Year this year (January 25) means that dealers stocked up on inventory earlier, boosting sales in November and December 2019.
Dongfeng, CNHTC and Shaanxi Auto top sales rankings in December, JAC, Beiben and SAIC-IVECO-Hongyan top sales gainers
Heavy-duty truck manufacturers led by CNHTC and Shaanxi Auto achieved strong sales growth in the month of December, which altered the competitive landscape in the sector in the month.
Dongfeng led the way again following November, CNHTC maintained its runner-up position, while Shaanxi Auto moved up a spot to No. 3. The three manufacturers that had the biggest sales growths in December were JAC, Beiben and SAIC-IVECO-Hongyan.
Dongfeng sold 20,500 heavy-duty trucks in December, roughly the same as that of the previous December. It was also the third month that Dongfeng took home the sales crown (the other two being August and November).
FAW Jiefang sold about 7,000 heavy-duty trucks as it pulled back sales after a huge year. The company led the segment for nine months.
CNHTC sold 17,000 heavy-duty trucks in December, up 16 percent, while Shaanxi Auto sold 15,500 heavy-duty trucks in the month, up 15 percent.
No. 4 Foton sold about 6,900 heavy-duty trucks in December.
SAIC-IVECO-Hongyan sold 5,406 heavy-duty trucks in December, gushing 42 percent and maintaining positive sales growth for the fifth consecutive month.
Dayun followed with sales of 3,286 heavy-duty trucks up 9 percent. JAC heavy-duty truck sales more than doubled in December, growing 110 percent to about 3,200 units. CAMC Hualing and XCMG rounded out the top 10 with sales of 2,021 and 1,508 units. Beiben only sold 700 heavy-duty trucks in December but that represented a year-on-year increase of 105 percent.
FAW Jiefang remains No. 1 in annual sales for fourth year running, XCMG and Dongfeng top sales gainers
Not much was changed in the top 10 sales rankings for the year.
FAW Jiefang remained the perennial leader in heavy-duty truck sales with 276,300 units sold, up 6 percent, good for a market share of 23.7 percent. It has now led heavy-duty truck sales for four consecutive years and medium and heavy-duty truck sales for three straight years.
Dongfeng was second with sales of 241,100 units, up 11 percent (the second highest in the industry), with a market share of 20.6 percent.
CNHTC followed with sales of 187,000 units, representing a market share of 16 percent.
Shaanxi Auto and Foton remained in their traditional No. 4 and 5 spots, with respective sales of 175,300 and 86,100 units, good for market shares of 15 and 7.4 percent.
SAIC-IVECO-Hongyan and JAC also retained their sixth and seventh positions with sales of 58,100 and 37,800 units, respectively, good for market shares of 5 and 3.2 percent.
Dayun sold 32,341 heavy-duty trucks in 2019, flat over 2018 for a market share of 2.8 percent, while XCMG was the top sales gainer with sales reaching 20,555 units, up 19 percent, good for a market share of 1.8 percent. It therefore passed CAMC Hualing into the No. 9 spot.
CAMC Hualing rounded out the top 10 with sales of 20,184 units with a market share of 1.7 percent.
No. 11 Beiben sold 8,257 units with a market share of just 0.7 percent.
Is the heavy-duty truck market going to grow or fall?
Sales of HDTs in 2008-2019 (in 10,000 units)
Cvworld.cn believes that the year 2020 remains a huge year for heavy-duty truck sales. With continued replacement of China 3 emissions trucks, clamp down on overloading and new policies on tolls based on axles, favorable factors that will drive structural change and demand remain in place. Therefore, we could see sales reach similar levels again in 2020 or even higher.
(Rewritten by San Shi based on author’s article on cvworld.cn)