Sinotruk overcomes pandemic challenge to notch record year

By YUAN SHENGGAO |  China Daily |  Updated:2022-01-07

China National Heavy Duty Truck Group, also known as Sinotruk, achieved strong results and created new records in its export business last year in spite of supply chain issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

At Sinotruk's annual conference, held online on Dec 30, the company said its domestic market share is estimated to reach 20.5 percent in 2021, increasing 3 percentage points year-on-year.

Last year, China's commercial vehicle market went through significant ups and downs, and faced pressing challenges, including stricter national emission rules, transformation from conventional-fuel to new energy vehicles and demands of intelligent connected vehicles, which put great pressure on the vehicle makers.

With the changing trends, the Jinan-based heavy truck manufacturer has continued to promote high-tech and high-quality development while also maintaining its leadership in technology.

In the new energy sector, Sinotruk has a portfolio of pure electric, hybrid and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. It has also developed a series of new energy commercial vehicles based on diversified application scenarios.

The independently developed electric drive axle technology will be used in various products ranging from 3 to 16 metric tons that will be released in the future.

Sinotruk showcased its latest products, including 38 high-quality trucks and 20 sets of components that cover heavy, medium and light-duty commercial vehicles at an exhibition area during the annual conference.

Among them, the Yellow River heavy truck with high-quality and forward-looking technologies has attracted the attention of participants. The main brands of Howo and Sitrak have been upgraded to adopt stricter national VI emission standards.

Export business has become a highlight of the company as it has actively responded to the Belt and Road Initiative and expanded on overseas markets to achieve steady growth in foreign trade.

Sinotruk innovated its marketing models and sold its products to more than 110 countries and regions, according to the company.

In 2021, the company exported more than 50,000 heavy trucks, accounting for more than 50 percent of China's total heavy truck export volume. It makes Sinotruk the world's largest single-brand exporter in the industry.

Its export volume of heavy trucks has ranked first in the country for 17 consecutive years.

According to Sinotruk, it has set up 67 overseas representative offices and distribution offices, 25 overseas knockdown assembly factories and more than 500 marketing, service and accessory supply outlets worldwide.

With the expansion on overseas markets, Sinotruk has accelerated the implementation of a full quality assurance service system to provide more efficient and worry-free products and services.

The company has sped up its pace of constructing overseas spare parts warehouses, which increased by 23 percent last year compared with 2020.

During the pandemic period, more than 300 Sinotruk marketing and after-sales service staffers worked overseas and launched online and offline service training.

The company has greatly valued science and technology development in recent years, which has contributed to driving its high-quality development.

Tan Xuguang, Sinotruk's president, delivered a speech at the company's science and technology innovation and development conference on Dec 26. He said that Sinotruk has strengthened its investment in science and technology to reach its highest-ever achievements in recent years.

Sinotruk has invested 8 billion yuan ($1.26 billion) in research and development during the past three years. The R&D investment accounted for more than 3 percent of its total revenue for three consecutive years.

The company plans to continue strengthening investment in the field and also expects to increase its number of new patents by more than 1,000 every year, including 500 patents for invention.

The new R&D building, with a total investment of 2 billion yuan, will be put into operation in April in Jinan Innovation Zone in Shandong province. The company plans to build an R&D team comprised of 10,000 professionals, including more than 1,000 with PhD degrees.

The latest Yellow River heavy truck, launched in September 2019, has achieved a drag coefficient of 0.37, which marks the best performance among mass-produced heavy trucks worldwide.

The company's hydrogen fuel cell heavy trucks have been applied in ports, parks, steel plants and other places.

According to Tan, Sinotruk's products have covered 28 segments and 81 application scenarios.

The company has also made efforts to integrate global resources to build its R&D system. It has taken advantage of its powertrain industry chain and R&D capacity in Europe, the United States and Japan to accelerate the establishment of a Sinotruk overseas R&D system.

It has also cooperated with international companies and top universities, including Bosch, Continental and Tsinghua University, to work on technologies in key areas.

The vehicle maker plans to lead in heavy truck products and technologies nationwide during the next two years and become a leading commercial vehicle brand worldwide by 2026.

The company forecast that the sales of heavy trucks in China will be around 800,000 to 900,000 units in 2022, and the export volume is expected to reach around 1 million units. The sales of diesel-fueled light and medium-duty trucks are expected to reach 850,000 to 900,000 units.

Clockwise from top: Sinotruk displays its heavy trucks, powertrain systems and light commercial vehicles at an exhibition area during its annual conference. CHINA DAILY

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