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Sany Group to invest billions in new heavy truck production bases

By Jing Shuiyu in Beijing and Feng Zhiwei in Changsha | | Updated: 2018-04-25 18:55
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Sany Group Co Ltd, China's leading machinery equipment maker, will invest billions of yuan in constructing five heavy truck production bases by 2019, and to road test autonomous ones this year, said executive.

The company's massive expansion plan, which could see its annual output rise almost 20-fold by then, is underpinned by solid demand from the domestic market.

Sany's truck products, after over one year of research and design, were displayed online in a presale in late March and were heavily marketed, said Zhou Junfeng, the engineer and project manager of the company's heavy truck arm.

"Within just 53 seconds on that day, the first batch of 500 heavy trucks was pre-sold, with total sales figures exceeding 135 million yuan," Zhou told China Daily. "As of 8 pm, April 23, we received a total of more than 11,000 online orders."

To meet the huge demand, the Changsha-based company plans to construct five sites, which will considerably increase its annual output capacity from the current 5,000 units, according to Zhou.

"Sany is constructing one production base, with annual output capacity of 2,000 units, in Changsha, Central China's Hunan province, which will start operations this May. We will replicate that success and build four more sites in 2019," Zhou said.

Sany, best known for its machinery equipment, began to move into the faster-growing industry about one year ago.

Last year, China saw the sale volume of heavy trucks surged 52 percent year-on-year to over 1.11 million units, which set a new record since 2010, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

In 2018, the sector is forecast to remain strong, partly due to the upturn in the global economy, solid domestic demand and the replacement of old-type trucks, said Gao Deng, an analyst at Changjiang Securities, in a research note.

Zhou Junfeng attributed the hot sales of Sany's heavy trucks to high quality with intelligent functions and lower prices than the market average.

An intelligent box enables the truck to record the owner's driving habits, trajectory, fuel consumption and other information, which can be used to diagnose the vehicle's operating status and improve safety, Zhou said.

"Our trucks are only available online, which reduces extra costs for customers," Zhou said. Sany's heavy truck is priced at 270,000 yuan, while similar product from other homegrown companies sell at about 360,000 yuan to 370,000 yuan.

Sany is planning to develop this type of heavy truck into autonomous ones, and is partnering with the country’s telecom carrier, China Mobile, in this area, according to Zhou.

"In December this year, we are going to road test a sample vehicle, which will have Level 4 self-driving technology and apply 5G telecommunication technology," he said.

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