China’s car sales continue to plunge, falling 83% last week

  • Carmakers’ deliveries to dealers this month are set to slide about 75%, resulting in about a 40% drop in the first two months of 2020
File photo
File photo

China’s car sales continued to plummet last week as the coronavirus outbreak kept consumers away from showrooms.

Retail sales fell 83% from a year earlier in the seven days through Feb. 23, the China Passenger Car Association said Wednesday in a report. The figures exclude minivans. The drop followed a 92% tumble in the first two weeks of February, indicating a gradual recovery may be underway as carmakers and dealers slowly resume operation, according to the trade body.

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China’s car industry is facing its biggest and most complex challenges ever, with a two-year slump being worsened by the virus outbreak. Carmakers’ deliveries to dealers this month are set to slide about 75%, resulting in about a 40% drop in the first two months of 2020, the association projected.

Only those in “urgent need" are shopping for cars, PCA said in a statement. Consumer traffic in showrooms is “very limited."

The automobile industry’s problems underscore the effect the virus is having on the world’s second-biggest economy, which Bloomberg Economics said was likely running at about 50% to 60% capacity in the week to Feb. 21. Official statistics showed that more than 70% of plants in provinces such as Shandong and Jiangsu have now restarted, with the rate above 90% in Zhejiang, though most are running below capacity.

First Published Date: 27 Feb 2020, 08:38 AM IST
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