China car sales in March remain low amid lingering fears of virus woes

13, Apr. 2020

Image by Robert Biesewig from Pixabay
Image by Robert Biesewig from Pixabay

TOKYO, NNA – New vehicle sales in China rebounded in March in a sign of a recovery from the big blow of the coronavirus outbreak but remained low as fears of a resurgence still weigh on economic activities and loom over business sentiment.

Total sales of passenger and commercial vehicles in March more than quadrupled from February but plummeted 43.3 percent from a year ago to 1.43 million units, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

On a year-on-year basis, sales of passenger cars tumbled 48.4 percent to 1.04 million units in March, while those of commercial vehicles dropped 22.6 percent to 388,000 units, data released on Friday showed.

In February, sales nosedived 79.1 percent on year to 310,000 units, according to the association.

In the world’s largest automobile market, 23 major carmakers have resumed factory operations with 86 percent of workers back at production lines. The utilization rate of facilities stands at 75 percent of last year’s average level among those manufacturers, the industry body said in a statement.

For the January-March quarter, total new vehicle sales in the country dropped 42.4 percent to 3.67 million units, with those of passenger cars accounting for 2.88 million units, the data showed.

The economic fallout from the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak has cast a shadow over various sectors such as logistics, tourism, restaurants and retail, while the country’s exports face headwinds as the viral crisis is hitting Europe and the United States, the association said.

The industry body predicts domestic vehicle sales will recover in the second quarter of 2020 but remain below the level of the previous year, adding that sales would return to a growth track in the latter half of this year in anticipation of stimulus measures by the government.