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Global Truck Trends of 2016

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2016 is shaping up to be a good year for truck manufacturers, with global sales likely to top 2.68 million units, an increase of 70,000 units over last year. The consulting firm, Frost & Sullivan has published a detailed analysis that included the following predictions. Industry watchers will be looking to see how accurate their prognostications prove.

1. Truck Sales Increase

In 2015, China’s truck sales fell off for the first time in over a decade. Latin America’s market also contracted. In 2016, this pattern should continue, with China’s truck market contracting by about 3.2%. Nevertheless, because of strong sales in India, Europe, and other markets, global truck sales should actually increase by 2.4%.

2. Growing Chinese Market

Despite its reduction, the Chinese market is likely to drive increased market share for mid-market or “value” trucks, which should gain two percentage points at the expense of both higher and lower-priced (“premium” and “low-cost”) trucks. This will be a shift, since the upper and lower extremes of the market have been growing for the past eight years.  

3.Engine Adaptations

“Platform-based” powertrain solutions that combine engines, drivetrain, and turbochargers will be favored by a combination of global emissions regulations and overlapping power-density requirements. This shift is set to continue well beyond 2016, with over half of global heavy duty truck engines being “platform-based” by 2022.

4.The Popularity of Alternative Fuel

Despite somewhat climate-friendly regulations, low oil prices slowed the adoption of alternative fuel powertrains last year and are likely to do so again in 2016. What growth alternative fuel makes in long-haul trucking is likely to be driven by the United States and China. Another important exception will be urban pickup and delivery, as well as refuse collection, all of which will continue to favor liquefied natural gas (LNG). Although the status of LNG as a “green” fuel is debatable, natural gas does produce less carbon dioxide than oil-based fuels. LNG-powered trucks could reach nearly 5% of the global truck population this year.  

5. Advances in Technology

The biggest story of this decade has been the adoption of new technologies, such as telematics and mobile-based brokering, plus the rapid development of increasingly autonomous vehicles. The second half of this decade will likely see these technologies drive revolutionary changes in business models and economic structures all over the world. We can look forward to a shift on the part of OEMs from product-based to service-based growth strategies, plus dramatic increases in freight efficiency and asset optimization. It should be an interesting year.


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