In a sign of the still-robust growth of China's industrial complex, sales of heavy-duty commercial vehicles in China surged to 316,725 units in the second quarter of 2010, an 83-percent increase from the second quarter of 2009, according to a quarterly report released Sept. 3 by the U.S. firm ACT Research Co. LLC and China's State Information Center.
Due to very strong demand in the first half of 2010, the full-year forecast for heavy-duty truck and tractor sales was increased to more than 1 million units, a 62-percent increase over 2009 sales, the report said.
However, sales are expected to decline during the second half of the year and into 2011, as China's economy and construction market cool and government policies take hold to rein in speculative investments in real estate, according to the recently released China Commercial Vehicle Demand Outlook.
"The overall size of the China commercial vehicle market continues to amaze," said Kenny Vieth, partner and senior analyst with ACT, in a statement. "While 2009 was the first year for the entire medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicle market to eclipse 1 million units, in 2010 the heavy-duty segment alone is projected to eclipse last year's full market total."
The report also said that surface freight volumes through June rose 16.3 percent from the year-earlier period. "While demand for freight transportation has not yet decelerated, capacity in the industry has definitely increased," according to the report.
Meanwhile, orders placed in August for heavy-duty, or Class 8, trucks in North America rose 8.3 percent from July figures and 16.8 percent from year-earlier levels, according to data released the same day by consultancy FTR Associates.
Class 8 truck orders in August totaled 12,337 units, which is roughly the monthly average seen over the past six months of 13,000 units, FTR said. The data covers orders in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, as well as U.S. exports.
FTR President Eric Starks said the August orders came in "about where we expected," adding that monthly orders will remain at comparable levels through the balance of 2010.
"Going forward, a critical point to watch is order activity in October and November, which typically see a seasonal spike in activity," Starks said in a statement. "These months will set the stage for demand in 2011."