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