China’s Heavy-Duty Truck Sales Rebound on Strong Exports; LNG Trucks Drive Growth
Wu Ziye
DATE:  Nov 16 2023
/ SOURCE:  Yicai
China’s Heavy-Duty Truck Sales Rebound on Strong Exports; LNG Trucks Drive Growth China’s Heavy-Duty Truck Sales Rebound on Strong Exports; LNG Trucks Drive Growth

(Yicai) Nov. 16 -- China’s sales of heavy-duty trucks are bouncing back after a slow two years thanks to strong demand overseas and spurred by growing interest in liquid natural gas-powered trucks, according to the latest data.

China’s sales of heavy-duty trucks surged 68.5 percent in October from a year earlier to 81,000 units, according to statistics from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. And they jumped 37.9 percent in the first 10 months from a year earlier to 788,000 units.

Exports are a strong growth driver as the country's heavy-duty trucks become more competitive overseas thanks to greater brand awareness in other countries, an improved worldwide service network and their cost advantage, a marketing executive at Weichai Power, a Chinese manufacturer of diesel engines supplier, told Yicai.

Exports soared 70 percent in the nine months ended Sept. 30 to 210,000 units, more than last year’s total of 175,000 units and triple the number sold back in 2020. This year exports should reach 280,000 autos, he added.

Truck owners who bought five or six years ago, during China’s last boom in the heavy-duty truck market, are now looking to replace their vehicles, and this will also help spur heavy-duty truck sales this year, the person said. More than one million trucks were shifted each year between 2017 and 2021.

With better prospects in exports and domestic demand for replacement vehicles, China’s heavy-duty truck sales are likely to experience 10 percent growth next year on top of this year’s strong gain, he added.

Green Transport

Gas-powered heavy-duty trucks are proving particularly popular as the price of diesel climbs. Sales skyrocketed over 15-fold in October from the year before to 23,000 autos. Orders for Weichai’s gas engines began to outstrip supply in April and reached a peak after June, the person said.

The average price of LNG in China was CNY4,249.18 (USD586) per ton in September, and that of diesel was CNY8,152.56 per ton. The price differential has widened three-and-a-half-fold since January, according to data from Sublime China Information.

The natural gas to diesel price ratio of 0.7 is critical as a ratio below 0.7 means LNG vehicles have an advantage, the person said. The price of natural gas has edged up recently, but the ratio is still between 0.63 and 0.64.

China has an ample supply of natural gas, meaning prices are stable. And as more gas filling stations are built nationwide and as the technology becomes more mature, it will boost the LNG truck market. Sales may surpass 250,000 units next year, he added.

Editors: Tang Shihua, Kim Taylor

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Keywords:   Heavy Duty Truck,Natural Gas Powered Vehicle,Market Analysis