China sold 149,639 buses of more than 6 meters in length in the first 11 months of 2017, according to data from chinabus.info. That is about 68,000 units off from the 217,499 units sold in all of 2016. At the current trajectory, sales for 2017 are likely to reach 180,000 units, or close to 20 percent off the previous year’s levels.
Which types of buses were hot and which were not in 2017?
Overall analysis: public transport buses remain as key battlefield
In terms of type of use, public transport buses remained as a key battlefield for manufacturers. Its market proportion exceeded that of seat buses in 2016 for the first time and will likely remain so in 2017.
Sales of public transport buses in the first 11 months of 2017 reached 71,682 units, accounting for 47.9 percent of the bus market, while those of seat buses reached 62,349 units, accounting for 41.7 percent of the market share. Sales of school buses reached 9,587 units, with a market share of 6.4 percent, remaining below 10 percent.
Yutong was the top player in the public transport bus market, selling 18,167 units during the January-November period, accounting for a quarter of the market share. BYD sales reached 11,450 units, moving up to the runner up position, while Zhongtong sold 7,122 units for third place. The top three players accounted for more than half (51.3 percent) of the market with total sales of 36,739 units.
In the seat bus market, Yutong also was the leader of the pack with sales of 24,713 units for a market share of almost 40 percent. Zhongtong was next with sales of 5,343 units, while Xiamen Golden Dragon was a close third with 5,141 units. The top three players in the segments had combined sales of 35,197 units, accounting for 56.5 percent of the market.
Public transport buses: bestselling go to 10-m buses, 8-m ones come second
In the first 11 months of 2017, 10-meter and 8-meter buses were the main force in the public transport bus (more than 6 meters) market. They combined to account for more than 70 percent of the public transport market. Sales of 10-meter public transport buses reached 28,740 units for a 40.1 percent market share, while 8-meter ones had sales of 22,040 units, or 30.7 percent of the market.
In sharp contrast, the combined market share of 12-m, 9-m, 7-m and 6-m public transport buses accounted for only one-tenth of the market (0.6, 3, 3.5 and 3.4 percent respectively). Sales of 12-m buses in particular, reached only 422 units.
Besides the fact that 10-m and 8-m buses are more suited for urban public transport, another reason for the lackluster performance of these buses are related to new energy vehicle subsidy policies. The subsidy policies favor 10-m and 8-m buses more than the 12-m, 9-m and 7-m buses, hence the lower demand and market share.
Seat buses: 11-m followed by 10-m
Different from the public transport market, seat buses favor 11-m variants, which has been the case for years.
Sales of seat buses by length in the first 11 months of 2017 in descending order were: 11-m (18,009 units), 10-m (12,436 units), 8-m (10,788 units), 7-m (10,317 units), 6-m (7,487 units), 9-m (1,775 units) and more than 12-m (1,537 units).
In terms of market share, seat buses are also different from public transport buses in that the market share of buses of different lengths are more balanced. The share of 11-m, 10-m, 8-m, 7-m and 6-m were 28.9, 19.9, 17.3, 16.5 and 12 percent, all above 10 percent. But none had market share of more than 30 percent. Similar to the public transport bus market, however, was that 12-m and 9-m buses also accounted for very low proportions of the market, with shares of 2.5 and 2.8 percent respectively.
In summary, four sub-segments dominated the bus market: namely 8-m and 10-m public transport buses and 11-m and 10-m seat buses. Demand was weak for 9-m and 12-m buses in both sub segments.
Note: 11-m buses denote those with vehicle length of more than 11-m but less than or equal to 12-m, 10-m buses denote vehicle length of more than 10-m but less than or equal to 11-m, 9-m buses denote vehicle length of more than 9-m but less than or equal to 10-m, 8-m buses denote vehicle length of more than 8-m but less than or equal to 9-m, 7-m buses denote vehicle length of more than 7-m but less than or equal to 8-m, and 6-m buses denote vehicle length of more than 6-m but less than or equal to 7-m.
(Rewritten by Lei Xing based on author’s article on find800.cn)