China 2020 heavy truck sales top record 1.6 mln units

Posted on 07 January 2021

Sales of heavy-duty trucks in China enjoyed a record-breaking 2020 despite the negative influence of the COVID-19 outbreak, with sales hitting a historical high of 1.6 million units, according to the latest release by Beijing-headquartered Commercial Vehicle World. CVWorld said the uptick in sales was mainly driven by the country’s determination to promote vehicle upgrading.

During last year, preliminary estimates suggest that China’s total heavy truck sales surged 38% or by nearly 450,000 units on year to 1.6 million units, CVWorld said, noting that Chinese truck makers contributed by far the largest number of new vehicles to the global truck market than makers in any other country.

China’s heavy truck sales by month 

Photo source: CVWorld

In December alone, large truck sales were seen moving up by 24% on year to 114,000 units (despite an on-month drop of 16%) to make this still the highest December result in history.

Sales in Q1 2020 had been severely impacted by the virus outbreak, CVWorld noted, only accounting for some 16.9% of the year’s total sales – much lower than the 27.7% for the same period in 2019. Though CVWorld does not provide truck production data, it notes that operations among domestic manufacturers were interrupted by the pandemic during the quarter, as were supplies of components and spare parts that the truck makers required.

The proportion of quarterly sales against full-year sales

Data Source: CVWorld

Sales recovered spectacularly since April, however, with monthly average on-year growth over April to December is expected to be as high as 60%, the report said.

“Unprecedented (government) measures promoting the scrapping of those diesel-fuelled trucks whose exhaust abatement systems only comply with National Emission Stage III standard created a huge space for the heavy truck market in 2020. In many regions, the deadline for removal – when truck owners could enjoy ‘old-for-new’ subsidies on new trucks – was by the end of 2020,” CVWorld said, adding this was the most crucial stimulus for sales throughout the whole year.

China’s target to eliminate 1 million units of diesel-fuelled trucks from some highly environmentally-sensitive regions – trucks which failed to meet the National Emission Stage IV standard – was to have been realized by the end-2020, the last year of China’s thirteenth five-year plan, Mysteel Global noted.

In addition, the tightening and regularizing of controls on overloading also forced owners to procure additional trucks for their fleets or risk fines, while Beijing’s supportive policies for infrastructure projects (delayed initially by the epidemic and then speeded up) had resulted in robust truck sales for construction use, CVWorld maintained.

On the other hand, sales of natural gas-fuelled trucks increased 28% on year to 136,900 units over the first 11 months of 2020, and CVWorld expected that annual sales would jump by 22% on year to over 140,000 units last year.

However, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers fears that after last year’s strong performance, the truck makers will face tougher conditions this year. The association expects sales of commercial vehicles, including trucks, to decline 10% on year in 2021, as the subsidiary support that owners enjoy from scrapping Stage III trucks and buying upgraded models will wane this year, as reported.

Source : Mysteel Global