China’s commercial vehicle demand remains soft

March 30, 2016

China’s heavy- and medium-duty truck and tractor markets remained soft in Q4’15. Total heavy duty sales declined more than 13% y/y in 2015’s final quarter, though that number also represented a 24% q/q rebound from weak third quarter volumes. For full year 2015, heavy duty vehicle sales in China fell 26% from 2014 levels.

This was reported in the most recent China Commercial Vehicle Outlook, jointly published quarterly by ACT and China’s State Information Center (SIC). The Outlook includes an overview of the China economy and a review and forecast of China’s heavy and medium-duty truck and bus markets, as well as analysis of OEM market shares within China.

The pace of growth of China’s economy slowed to 6.8% on a year-over-year basis in Q4’15, down slightly from the 6.9% pace recorded in the previous quarter. For perspective, full-year real GDP growth in 2015 was 6.9%, down from the 7.4% recorded in 2014; 2013’s economic growth was 7.7%. China’s real GDP has been trending downward from double-digit levels and is now settling into a new normal in the single-digit range.

According to Jim Meil, ACT’s principal industry analyst, “Recent developments and achievements demonstrate that China continues to evolve, faces necessary changes, and earns recognition for its prominence in the global economy, as the country’s leaders continue to grapple with the challenges of recalibrating economic growth targets and implementing appropriate policies.”

Robert Perkins, senior global business consultant at ACT, said: “Heavy and medium truck and tractor markets may show temporary signs of improvement, but will remain subdued for the foreseeable future, until changes in both the country’s economy and the evolution of its transportation industry have stabilized. The country’s transportation industry is undergoing several changes that will impact vehicle demand, including rapidly improving vehicle quality, significant logistics efficiency improvement, and higher capacity vehicles.”

SIC is affiliated with the National Development and Reform Commission of China and is engaged in research on the macro-economy, key industries and information technology. ACT is the worldwide leading publisher of new and used commercial vehicle (CV) industry data, market analysis and forecasting services for the North American market, as well as the US tractor-trailer market and the China CV market.