Car sales down 80 percent in Feb amid coronavirus outbreak

By Qi Xijia Source:Global Times Published: 2020/3/12 22:53:40

A worker operates at the factory of Chang'an Automobile in Dingzhou, north China's Hebei Province, Feb. 16, 2020. Companies in Dingzhou resumed production with epidemic prevention measures during the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. (Xinhua/Zhu Xudong)

China's car association called for favorable policies to boost consumption after the coronavirus outbreak hit the industry hard, with output and sales in February down by nearly 80 percent compared with the previous year. 

Experts predict an annual sales drop of 50 percent year-on-year if there are no stimulus policies.

In February the output of automobiles plunged by 79.8 percent to 285,000 while sales decreased by 79.1 percent to 311,000, according to data published by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) on Thursday.

The output and sales of new-energy vehicles stood at 9,951 and 12,908, a year-on-year decrease of 82.9 percent and 75.2 percent.

The CAAM called for favorable policies to be rolled out, including increasing car license quotas, lifting purchase limits on new-energy vehicles, optimizing subsidy levels and promoting sales in rural areas.

The economic contraction caused by the epidemic is likely to have a negative impact on car demand, Feng Shiming a veteran industry analyst, told the Global Times on Thursday.

"According to our survey, around 19 percent of the respondents said the coronavirus has affected their plans to buy cars and they won't buy cars in order to save money, Feng said. 

He predicted that there would be a small pick-up in sales in some cities after the coronavirus outbreak subsides but not enough to affect the entire car market in China, which has already reached a relatively saturated range.

"The annual sales may drop by 50 percent year-on-year, without stimulus policies," he added.


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