A HOWO TH7 rolled off the assembly line at China National Heavy Duty Truck Group, also known as Sinotruk, on Tuesday, marking the 500,000th model produced and sold this year for the heavy-duty truck manufacturer.

The record demonstrates that the Jinan-based company has made significant progress in its reform and development, Sinotruk said in a statement.

Ramping up its efforts in enhancing innovation and research and development, Sinotruk has made progress in new projects and technology.

Sinotruk’s intelligent connected and new energy truck project was put into operation on Nov 19 in East China’s Shandong province.

With a total investment of 15 billion yuan ($2.29 billion), the project covers an area of 207 hectares and has a total building area of 1 million square meters. In just 280 days, Sinotruk completed the project, with the first vehicle rolling off the production line.

Equipped with an advanced intelligent manufacturing production line, the project is expected to become a world-class heavy-duty truck production base featuring high-end, intelligent and green technology, according to the company.

The first phase of the project is designed to have an annual production capability of 100,000 heavy-duty trucks.

Looking ahead, the project will produce new energy and intelligent connected trucks, taking full advantage of the technologies of new energy vehicle manufacturing, autonomous driving and artificial intelligence, according to Sinotruk.

It is a landmark achievement for Jinan, especially in terms of accelerating the development of new economic growth drivers and promoting high-quality development, said Sun Licheng, Party secretary of Jinan.

In 2020, Sinotruk invested more than 3 billion yuan in R&D. That figure is estimated to reach 5 billion yuan next year. The company said that in the next five years, it will invest 5 percent of its revenue into R&D annually.

This year, the company has achieved an array of innovative results. Among them is an autonomous electric container truck.

Back in January, 25 autonomous driving electric container trucks made by Sinotruk completed a variety of tasks at Tianjin Port, contributing to efforts to promote the intelligent transformation of Chinese container terminals.

Besides innovation, Sinotruk has made progress in reform, especially in terms of streamlining businesses, adjusting its personnel system and reforming its marketing, quality control and service mechanisms.

To concentrate on developing its core business, the production and sales of commercial vehicles, the company has been gradually phasing out a series of businesses since 2018, which are not closely related to the commercial vehicle industry. They include real estate, property management, hospitals and kindergartens.

The actions made in streamlining its businesses have helped lay a solid foundation for Sinotruk’s high-quality and high-speed development in the commercial vehicle industry, according to the company.

Deepening the reform of its personnel system, Sinotruk has improved the proportion of young leaders, born after 1980, to 56.5 percent from 27.3 percent. In 2020, the company employed 2,000 college graduates.

With efforts made in reforming its quality control, marketing and service mechanisms, Sinotruk has made progress in promoting its product quality to the market and its customers, according to the company.

Sinotruk had a 68.8 percent year-on-year increase in production and sales in 2020.

Among the 500,000 commercial vehicles produced and sold were 300,000 heavy-duty trucks, up 67.4 percent year-on-year.

In 2020, Sinotruk has achieved a 48 percent year-on-year increase in revenue and a 65 percent year-on-year increase in profit.

A HOWO TH7, the 500,000th vehicle produced by China National Heavy Duty Truck Group, or Sinotruk, in 2020, rolls off the production line in Jinan, East China’s Shandong province. CHINA DAILY