Global demand for buses is projected to increase more than 5% per year to 664,000 units in 2018, twice as fast as the 2008-2013 rate of increase.
Five major trends will drive growth:
• Expansion in the size of the global urban population.
• Rising government investment in public transportation networks, particularly bus rapid transit systems, to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality.
• Growth in the number and size of private transportation companies.
• Climbing worldwide sales of electric, hybrid, compressed natural gas (CNG), and liquefied natural gas (LNG) models, as many countries adopt more stringent emissions standards and as environmental considerations grow in importance.
• Growth in the use of Type C and other school bus models in response to government efforts to expand access to education, safety concerns, and more favorable conditions in the large US market.
Analyst Gleb Mytko notes, however, that “global bus sales increases will be restrained by rising use of motorcycles and light motor vehicles as income levels climb in many developing nations.” The expansion of rail transportation networks around the world is also expected to moderate bus market growth.
The Asia/Pacific region is projected to account for more than three-fifths of all new global bus demand through 2018. China alone will be responsible for nearly half of the global total. Growth is expected to pick up in both China and India, the region’s two largest bus markets, after declining moderately during the second part of the 2008-2013 period. Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea are also expected to perform considerably better between 2013 and 2018 as older buses are replaced.
Suppliers to the Asia/Pacific market will benefit greatly from additional government investment in bus transportation networks and expansion of the tourism and private transportation industries. Also, Type C and other purpose-built school bus demand will rise, especially in China. After a period of sizable losses, demand for buses in North America and Western Europe is projected to rebound noticeably, as sales of electric, hybrid, CNG, and LNG buses grow. Since 2003, demand for these models has increased dramatically in these regions (from relatively small existing market bases).