Trucks rolled off a high base

Trucks rolled off a high base

In 2024, the truck market in the Russian Federation will not be able to repeat the record results of last year. As follows from the forecasts of suppliers, carriers and analysts, demand for heavy vehicles will decrease by 25–33%, and sales will amount to 90–100 thousand units. Pent-up demand in a number of segments has already been realized in 2023, and the level of the Central Bank rate puts pressure on the market. At the same time, vehicle fleets have to be updated, including due to difficulties with repairs and the increase in transportation volumes.

The head of KamAZ, Sergei Kogogin, expects that the market for heavy trucks (14–40 tons) in 2024 will amount to 100–110 thousand vehicles. The company clarified to Kommersant that in 2023, according to their estimates, the truck market amounted to a record 135 thousand. The forecast suggests a drop of approximately 18–25%. In 2023, KamAZ did not have time to increase production of the K5 generation, and out of more than 41.7 thousand heavy trucks, only 5.3 thousand such vehicles were produced. In 2024, the concern wants to produce over 15 thousand K5 trucks, “but everything will depend on the market situation,” they add.

According to Autostat, in 2023 the market for trucks over 3.5 tons grew by 71%, to 143.7 thousand units. In January 2024, 7.5 thousand trucks were sold (an increase of 10.1%).

Vladimir Zhelobov, director of the commercial transport department at Avtodom and Avtospetstsentr, says that now the demand in the segment of tractors and dump trucks is low. He expects that in 2024 the market for heavy trucks could reach about 100 thousand units, which will be influenced by the volume of warehouses, support programs from manufacturers, the ruble exchange rate and the Central Bank rate.

According to forecasts from Stork (the official representative of Dayun in the Russian Federation), the main sales of trucks will begin in March, but market players are “really looking forward to a reduction in the key rate.”

The company’s executive director, Arthur Soldatkin, gives the most negative forecast, expecting the market to roll back to 2022 levels of 75–80 thousand. According to him, “carriers that are actively renewing their fleets on a large scale closed their tasks” last year.

The head of the development of the FAW dealer network at the Tonar plant, Yuri Erokhin, also points to the influence of the Central Bank rate and expects that the market volume of heavy trucks (14–40 tons) will be 115–120 thousand units. Sergei Kogogin, in turn, noted that “rates have increased – it is not a fact that the tariff for cargo transportation will be feasible for business and payment of such rates” (quote from Interfax).

Demand is now supported by the presence of “interesting price offers,” says BWG head Rinat Fatykhov: “This is a necessary measure, since at the beginning of the year there was a large stock of Chinese equipment in warehouses.” According to BWG estimates, there are currently about 12 thousand Chinese-made truck tractors in warehouses, in transit and at the customs clearance stage. The pent-up demand for truck tractors has been exhausted, and, according to Mr. Fatykhov’s expectations, their sales in 2024 will amount to about 34 thousand units (40% lower than 2023), which may lead to increased competition between manufacturers. And calculations of the construction contract market show a need for 33 thousand dump trucks, he adds. According to his estimates, the market for cars from 16 tons in 2024 will amount to 90 thousand.

Dmitry Babansky from SBS Consulting expects the market to decline to 110–130 thousand units, including the segment of heavy trucks (from 16 tons) to 95–115 thousand units. He notes that the yuan’s exchange rate against the ruble is likely to continue to rise, which will lead to a decrease in demand for Chinese trucks, sales of which grew most actively in 2023. The high cost of loans and leasing will have a negative impact on purchasing power.

135 thousand

heavy trucks were sold in Russia in 2023, according to KamAZ estimates

Leasing companies are more optimistic. General Director of VTB Leasing Group of Companies Anton Musatov believes that truck sales will remain at the level of 2023. He points to the need to renew vehicle fleets in logistics, construction, retail, and public services. The demand for freight vehicles remains, although the market is gradually entering a saturation phase, says Alexey Lyubetsky, commercial director of the leasing company Fleet Finance (part of Insight Investment Group). He, however, notes that the market will be influenced by tariffs for cargo transportation services, as well as the cost of financing, which directly depends on the key rate.

Carriers call leasing costs prohibitive.

Director for procurement of transport services at FM Logistic in Russia, Eduard Mironov, points out that expensive leasing in many cases has led to the postponement of renewal of vehicle fleets and the refusal to purchase equipment. “Previously, vehicle owners could count on a complete redemption of trucks in three, maximum five years,” says SOTA Logistic Business Development Director Igor Chernyshev. “Now this period has already exceeded seven years. This practically deprives them of profit, since the income is only enough to cover payments and operating costs.” He adds that the company still continues to renew its vehicle fleet, since “for old trucks of European brands and even relatively new KamAZ trucks, spare parts are not supplied due to their absence in warehouses in the Russian Federation.”

The demand for heavy-duty trucks will remain high, especially due to the increase in the volume of goods transported from China, notes Ali Gabidulin, head of the domestic Russian ground transportation department at Noytech Supply Chain Solutions. But given the high key rate of the Central Bank, the possibility of updating the truck fleet remains available only to large carriers at the federal level. The head of the transport company Delko, Sanjar Ashuraliev, adds that the Russian truck market is one of the oldest in the world (average age is over 20 years): “The fleets require updating, therefore, despite the increase in recycling collection, the key rate and other negative factors, new imported equipment will continue to enter the market.”

Olga Nikitina

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