Biz / Auto

Steeper decline expected for Chinese auto market

Hu Yumo
Passenger car sales in the country are predicted to reverse by 8 percent in 2020, compared with an earlier estimate of 5 percent annual contraction.
Hu Yumo

China’s passenger car sales are expected to decline 8 percent in 2020, according to the latest figures from the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA).

This indicates a further decline compared with the association's prior expectations. The CPCA had predicted earlier this year that Chinese passenger car sales were likely to fall 5 percent in 2020. At the end of last year, the association had estimated that the market may grow 1 percent in 2020.

Retail sales of passenger cars in China fell 78.5 percent year on year to 252,308 units in February, data from the association showed. 

"The decline of passenger car sales is due to the Spring Festival and impact of COVID-19 on the auto market," said Cui Dongshu, secretary general of the China Passenger Car Association. "Since Spring Festival, most dealers in China have closed their stores as well as halted sales and service operations."

Due to the suspension of vehicle licensing procedures in some areas across the country during the coronavirus outbreak, vehicle delivery in February has been postponed, which inhibited consumer enthusiasm for car buying.

Sales of new-energy passenger vehicles in China  totaled 11,000 units in February, down 77.7 percent year on year. Among the total, plug-in hybrid vehicle sales equaled 2,000 units, a decrease of 84 percent year on year. Sales of electric passenger vehicles equaled 9,000 units, a year-on-year decline of 76 percent.

Cui said that a number of new car models will be launched on the market in March. However, the delay of the Beijing Auto Show has curtailed new product offerings. This may also lead to a slowdown of dealer vehicle purchases.

Cui added that the auto market is expected to fully return to normal some time after May.

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