China’s monthly sales of heavy-duty trucks have broken records for four consecutive months after sales topped 100,000 units in September, according to the latest data reported by manufacturers. That follows 97,576, 90,213 and 93,666 units in June, July and August, respectively, which all surpassed the previous monthly highs achieved in 2010.
September sales surged 89 percent from a year earlier, the 7th consecutive month that heavy-duty truck sales have exceeded 90,000 units since March. The previous September sales record was achieved in 2010, reaching 69,200 units. In addition, the 89 percent surge also marked the third consecutive month of growth of 80 percent or more, with 81 and 90 percent in July and August respectively.
In terms of monthly sales, the top five manufacturers – FAW Jiefang, Dongfeng, CNHTC, Shaanxi Auto and Foton – all posted sales of over 10,000 units. FAW Jiefang maintained way ahead of others by selling 23,000 units in September, up 105 percent on a yearly basis. It is also the only truck maker with monthly sales of over 20,000 units in each of the past three months. Dongfeng remained as the runner up with sales of 19,000 units, up 80 percent. CNHTC and Shaanxi Auto were tied for third, with both selling 16,800 units, up 98 and 120 percent, respectively. Foton sold 10,300 units, surging 92 percent.
Heavy-duty truck sales averaged 94,600 units a month during the third quarter, driven by favorable factors such as stricter control policies and continuing recovery of the manufacturing sector. Based on the data of National Bureau of Statistics, manufacturing PMI was 51.4, 51.7 and 52.4 percent in July, August and September, respectively, with that in September hitting a peak since May 2012.
The monthly manufacturing PMI kept rising and maintained above 51 percent, which indicated an accelerated pace of manufacturing expansion and stable recovery of the physical economy, with the former meaning constant increase in the transportation demand of goods and the demand for vehicle purchasing of logistics client. In this sense, the sharp increase of heavy-duty trucks sales could be guaranteed.
SAIC-IVECO-Hongyan maintained its 6th spot with sales of 30,700 units, surging 175 percent on a yearly basis with market share rising to 3.5 percent. Its 175 percent growth was also No. 1 among mainstream heavy-duty truck makers. Dayun posted sales of 22,451 units, adding 53 percent with a market share of 2.6 percent. CAMC Hualing and Beiben posted sales of 13,900 and 10,900 units, up 41 and 60 percent respectively and reaping market shares of 1.6 and 1.3 percent.
Mixed bag for Q4
Will heavy-duty trucks sales in October hit another record? It is a foregone conclusion that it will break the previous October record of 70,000 units set in 2010 in spite of a small monthly drop from September due to booming scheduled production plan and order demand.
However, there are also unfavorable factors with stricter policy on production limits. Based on the Action Plan of Comprehensive Control over Air Pollution in the Autumn and Winter of 2017-2018 in Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei and Surrounding Areas released by the Ministry of Environmental Protection, all types of earth and rock works and house removal shall be prohibited during the heating season; peak production and transportation shifting for industrial enterprises will be further promoted; stricter supervision shall be made on air pollution control; peak production shifting for construction materials industry will be promoted.
Moreover, production during the heating season will be shut down for cement (including special cement and excluding cement grinding station), kilns (excluding natural gas based), ceramics (excluding natural gas based), glass wool (excluding natural gas based), rock wool (excluding electric furnace) and plaster board. Production at the cement grinding station shall be shut down during early warning period for heavy air pollution.
Scope of implementation includes cities that transmit air pollution in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, namely, Beijing, Tianjin, Shijiazhuang, Tangshan, Langfang, Baoding, Cangzhou, Hengshui, Xingtai, Handan, Taiyuan, Yangquan, Changzhi, Jincheng, Jinan, Zibo, Jining, Dezhou, Liaocheng, Binzhou, Heze, Zhengzhou, Kaifeng, Anyang, Hebi, Xinxiang, Jiaozuo and Puyang (hereafter referred to as “2+26” cities, including Xiong’an New Area, Xinji, Dingzhou, Gongyi, Lankao, Hua County, Changyuan County and Zhengzhou Airport Economy Zone).
Due to these stricter production limitations for environmental protection reasons and even required shutdowns, the heavy-duty truck market in Q4 could be a mixed bag. Given that Q4 sales of 2016 stood at a high level (driven by the 9.21 new policy), Q4 sales of 2017 are likely to post only a small increase or will be flat over Q4 2016.
(Rewritten by Xu Jun based on author’s article on cvworld.cn)