Auto industry battered by coronavirus; January sales slump 18%: CAAM

Source:Global Times Published: 2020/2/13 16:38:52

A total of 500 domestically manufactured vehicles wait to be loaded onto a ship at the Port of Lianyungang, East China’s Jiangsu Province, on Monday. The cars are being exported to the Netherlands. The port saw 648.34 million vehicles exported in 2019, up 211 percent year-on-year. Photo: cnsphotos

China's auto industry has been clobbered by novel coronavirus pneumonia (COVID-19). Market demand has tumbled, manufacturers' production has been hindered and some medium-sized automakers even face a capital crunch, an industry association said on Thursday.

The short-term impact of the epidemic on China's economy is bigger than it was during SARS in 2003, with more serious implications for the auto industry which is undergoing adjustment, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) said during an online press briefing on Thursday.

Automobile output in Central China's Hubei Province usually accounts for about 8-9 percent of the country's total, while South China's Guangdong and East China's Zhejiang provinces are also important automobile manufacturing centers. As these provinces are affected, local automobile assembly and the supply of car parts across the country is now disrupted, the association said.

Xu Haidong, assistant secretary-general of CAAM, said at the conference that the country's auto sales are expected to slump in the first quarter amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Automobile sales in China dropped 18 percent year-on-year in January to 1.94 million units. Sales of new energy vehicles tumbled 54.4 percent year-on-year in the month to only 44,000, data from CAAM showed.

"The domestic auto market is expected to see a short-term consumption peak after the end of the epidemic, but we should not be optimistic about the sector for the whole year," Xu said.

Automakers are stepping up efforts to restart production, according to the association. A total of 59 automobile production bases in China had resumed production by Wednesday, accounting for 32.2 percent of the total polled by the association.

Global Times


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