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China auto sales declined in March due to coronavirus

China auto sales declined in March as the country saw lockdown and other movement restrictions due to the rise in coronavirus cases.

Car sales in the country market declined 11.7% in March from a year ago to 2.23 million vehicles – its first decline in three months and contrasting significant with an 18.7% increase in February, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM).

“The recent pandemic situation has been quite severe and so the figures in March were not too good, and we presently do not see much improvement in April,” said Chen Shihua, the CAAM’s deputy secretary general.

He also noted that automakers were pressing the government for supportive measures such as reductions to the auto purchase tax.

Tesla, since 28 March, suspended production at its Shanghai factory. Volkswagen‘s Shanghai joint venture paused operations in April. Volkswagen and Toyota Motor joint ventures with their Chinese partners in Changchun have been suspended since March.

While China’s total auto sales declined in March, the sales of new energy vehicles more than doubled to 484,000 vehicles. That was, however, sharply slower compared to the performance in February.

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