Chinese bus market booming

With the world increasingly aware of the danger of carbon emissions, the global eye has turned to large corporations to take action.

Despite burgeoning growth in its domestic passenger car market, China’s appetite for buses of all sizes appears to be equally voracious. During the first half of 2010, total bus and coach sales of just less than 170 000 units generated year-on-year market growth of 42% when compared to the equivalent January-June period in 2009. The segmentation pattern employed in China divides the market into Light Buses (less than 7 metres in length), Medium Buses (7 to 10 metres), and Large Buses (over 10 metres), accounting for shares of 70,3%, 14,6% and 15,1% respectively. The highest margin of year-on-year growth (92,7%) was experienced in the Large class, followed by Lights (39,2%) and Mediums (21,4%).

The leading performers in the Large Bus and Coach segment were Yutong (26,8% market share), King Long Suzhou (14,8%) and Xiamen King Long (13,6%). In the Medium category, the same “pecking order” of manufacturers manifested, with segment shares of 30,4%, 16,6% and 9,9%, respectively. In the numerically huge Light Bus segment, prime position went to Shenyang Jinbei (34,7% penetration), followed by  Jiangling Motors (20,5%), and Nanjing Auto Group (20,5%). Only about 20% of Chinese buses and coaches are built in chassis format, with the vast majority being supplied from their manufacturers as complete, or “built-up” units.

For the record, the Chinese vehicle market became the world’s largest during the 2009 calendar year. Vehicle sales volumes announced by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers for that year totaled 13,64 million units, while production ended at 13,79 million units. Of these, passenger car sales contributed 10,33 million units, and the equivalent production volume came in at 10,38 million units. Total Chinese vehicle sales in 2009 rose by 46,2% over the equivalent volume for the 2008 calendar year, being spurred on by government incentives including reduced purchase tax on cars with engines smaller than 1,6 litres. By contrast, the volume of all motor vehicles sold during 2009 in the United States of America, formerly the world’s largest market, was 10,43 million units, a reduction of 21% when compared to the 2008 result of 13,25 million units. It now appears that the Chinese market will maintain this staggering rate of upward momentum, and by 2011, will surpass the USA’s all-time world record (17,4 million units) set in the year 2000. Analysts believe that the final Chinese total in 2011 could lie somewhere between 18,3 million and 19 million units.

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