Can the Future Optimus Prime Transform from a China-made Truck?
Despite a sluggish global auto market, trucks continue to sell well across China. Already the largest passenger car market, some predict China will soon become the world's number one truck market as well.
Li Guang owns a burgeoning freight business and just like his peers, he is expanding his fleets – picking up four new trucks this year.
“Business has been good so I want to expand. I can now also see more trucks on the road too,” said Li.
China's growing freight industry has been giving a nice kick to truck sales.
In 2017, trucks sales in China rose more than 52 percent, to 1.1 million units nationwide. Growth dampened a bit this year, but the first half still saw a strong double-digit rate of 15 percent. In addition to a growing freight industry, the nation continues to phase out older trucks and push for newer, more efficient models, which also boosts sales.
Increased domestic demand not only boosted Chinese truck makers' sales but also their appetite. From inside out, this trunk is built to attract a global market – competing head-to-head with Volvo and MAN Truck and Bus. But can the future Optimus Prime transform from a China-made truck?
China's largest truck maker, First Automobile Works (FAW), is bringing its truck business to Europe. And the truck maker recently organized a truck tour through Europe.
While they were passing through Germany, local police stopped them for inspection. FAW's trucks passed the random check and proved safe for Germany's roads. Although that boosted FAW's confidence for entering the global market, there are still tough competitions ahead.
“As a Chinese self-owned brand, we have to increase our reliability – that means to extend the truck's lifespan,” said Wang Zhicai, the general manager of FAW Jiefang Automotive Sales.
Most Chinese trucks on the road today last about one million kilometers before their engines fail, while more reputable international brands can last over 1.5 million.
Experts predict that accelerated sales growth in the domestic market will eventually peak, and increased competition will force smaller players out, or force them to consolidate, while larger brands find bigger markets.
At the moment, ten brands dominate China's truck market – that number is expected to shrink to five in the future. (www.chinatrucks.com)
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