China car sales tumble by 92% as coronavirus takes toll on industry

Car sales in China have collapsed by 92% as the coronavirus shutdown wreaks havoc on the automotive industry.

The China Passenger Car Association said that “barely anybody” has looked to buy cars in the first half of February and most dealerships have remained closed as the coronavirus shutdown takes its toll on businesses across China.

The plummeting domestic car sales figures – 96% down in the first week of February and 92% down across the first half of the month – come days after Jaguar Land Rover revealed it is currently making no sales in China.

“There was barely anybody at car dealers in the first week of February as most people stayed at home,” said Cui Dongshu, the secretary general of the CPCA. “Very few dealerships opened in the first weeks of February and they have had very little customer traffic.”

Only 4,909 cars were sold in the first 16 days of February, down from 59,930 in the same period last year, and in a market where more than 25m cars were sold in 2019.

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On Friday the Japanese carmakers Nissan and Honda further delayed restarting their manufacturing plants near the centre of the coronavirus outbreak in China until at least 11 March after the latest government directive to contain the spread of the virus.

The shutdown in China is wreaking havoc on the global automotive supply chain as carmakers struggle to source the tens of thousands of parts needed for each car. Earlier this week, Ralf Speth, the chief executive of Jaguar Land Rover, said the company had been forced to fly parts in suitcases from China to the UK as the supply dries up.

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Fiat Chrysler has warned that it could be forced to halt production at one of its four European plants if the supply from China continues to be affected. Companies such as Toyota and Peugeot-Citroen have said their supply chains may be affected but neither expects to close UK plants as a result



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