After hitting record levels in the second quarter of 2010, sales of heavy-duty commercial vehicles in China dropped 36% in the third quarter, according to ACT Research Co.
The drop hints at a continuing decline next year before the market for heavy-duty trucks returns to positive growth in 2012, ACT said.
“The overall size of the China commercial vehicle market may have hit a peak in the third quarter of 2010,” said Kenny Vieth, partner and senior analyst with ACT. “The forecast for 2011 is for slightly declining demand before returning to a growth pattern in 2012.”
ACT compiles its research based on information obtained from China’s State Information Center and publishes it in its China Commercial Vehicle Outlook report.
Third-quarter sales totaled 204,250 units, a 16% increase over third-quarter 2009 figures, but still a significant fall from 2010 second-quarter sales of 316,725 units. Sales of buses rose 11% year-over-year and 9% over the second quarter while medium-duty trucks declined 2% year-over-year.
ACT is forecasting modest growth from the third-quarter numbers when fourth-quarter figures are reported in March 2011.
The latest report also mentions that inflation is starting to become a concern for the Chinese economy and that the cooling real estate investment market will have a direct impact on construction and therefore demand for heavy-duty trucks.
ACT also noted that the top-three manufacturers are facing increased pressure from competitors. The fourth through seventh ranked manufacturers all gained market share in the third quarter. The number four through seven top manufacturers all gained market share in the third quarter while the top three dropped from a total of 60% of the market to just 51%.