Demand for China’s heavy and medium trucks and tractors was mixed in the first quarter of the year, according to the latest China Commercial Vehicle Outlook, jointly published quarterly by ACT Research and China’s State Information Center (SIC).
Overall, total heavy-duty sales of trucks and tractors rose more than 8% year over year, representing a 4.1% quarter to quarter q/q increase. Medium-duty truck sales rose 11% year over year, but contracted more than 22% from the final quarter of 2015, ACT said. The pace of growth of China’s economy slowed to 6.7% in the first quarter, down from 6.8% the previous quarter.
For perspective, full-year real GDP growth in 2015 was 6.9%, down from the 7.4% recorded in 2014, while 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.
“Following rounds of interest rate and reserve ratio cuts in 2015, the fiscal stimulus tree is now bearing fruit in the way of available funds for real estate and infrastructure investment,” said Robert Perkins, senior global business consultant at ACT. “We believe this, coupled with lower base year comparisons, made for what seems like rapid year-over-year recovery in every commercial vehicle segment during Q1 of ’16.
“As we explained in March, it is expected that China’s heavy and medium truck and tractor markets may show temporary signs of improvement. That said, domestic demand for China commercial vehicles 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.”