A slowdown in China’s economy is likely to delay upgrades to Chinese trucking fleets according to a new report given by Truck Industry Research and JSC Automotive at the IAA Commercial Vehicles event in Hanover, Germany.
European, Japanese and Korean truck makers were entering into joint venture manufacturing arrangements in anticipation of the long awaited sales but despite growth in passenger car markets, the heavy truck market has failed to meet expectations.
Companies like Daimler, Volvo and Hyundai were developing technologies to meet China’s new tighter emission standards, but customers for these more sophisticated trucks are still hard to find, said TIR.
“With the launch of several new generation products from the joint ventures there is a new sophistication to some of China’s domestic truck offerings,” said John Lawson, TIR’s research director. “But customer demand is not yet following this supply push with so many operators focused on low costs.”
Heavy truck sales peaked in 2010 when over a million units were sold, but expectations have weakened enough in recent years that it is expected to be nearly flat for the next five years.
There were 770,000 units sold in 2013, still much more than the 250,000 heavy trucks sold in North America and Europe in the same year. However the value of the trucks sold in China was only slightly higher than in the west because of the mostly low-end nature of China’s truck market. Currently trucks in China are sold at a fraction of the price of those in Western markets.
Based on stronger order levels, North America could soon overtake China again as the world’s most valuable truck region.