Chinese passenger car sales fall 92 per cent in February
Chinese sales of passenger cars collapsed 92 per cent on an annual basis in the first 16 days of February as the coronavirus outbreak halted business output across the country.
According to China Passenger Car Association (CPCA), only 4,909 vehicles were sold in the period, down from 59,930 in the same period a year earlier.
“Very few dealerships are opening in the first weeks of February and they have very little customer traffic,” CPCA said.
The data is the latest sign of the damage that the coronavirus outbreak, which has now killed 2,236 people, has done to the Chinese economy.
Last week the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) said that across the whole year sales in the world’s largest auto market would slide five per cent, with a 10 per cent hit in the first half.
In order to boost the flagging market, in which 25m vehicles were sold last year, China’s commerce ministry said it would introduce more measures to boost automobile sales.
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Today car makers including Nissan and Honda said that operations at their manufacturing plants would remain suspended for the time being, raising the risk of further supply disruptions.
Both car makers have plants in Hubei province, where the outbreak began over the new year.
Nissan said in an email seen by Reuters that the continued delay was due to the latest government directive by Hubei authorities, who asked firms to keep operations shut down through 10 March.
The coronavirus has wreaked havoc on the global car supply chain, as shutdowns in China have left manufacturers struggling to source the 30,000 or so parts needed for each car.
Air travel has also taken a considerable hit, as the International Air Transport Association announced last night that the global industry would take a $30bn hit from the outbreak.
China’s domestic market alone, which has been grounded by flight suspensions and spooked passengers, will take a $13bn hit as a result.