Nissan’s April auto sales in China show significant recovery

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Nissan Motor’s vehicle sales in China this month nearly recovered to the prior year’s level following a 45% decline in March which was mainly related to the impact of the coronavirus.

The data comes from two sources with knowledge of the Japanese automaker’s preliminary data.

The data reinforces growing optimism that China, the world’s biggest car market is stabilizing and returning to normal in the country, making it a rare bright spot as most dealerships in Europe and the United States are still closed.

Nissan’s vehicle sales in China, which include brands such as Nissan, Infiniti and China-only brands, and also light commercial vehicles, contracted just “a few percent” in April from a year ago when it sold roughly 121,000 vehicles, said the people who observed the data.

Sales of the Nissan brand alone showed a “small growth”, one of the people stated.

Nissan refused to discuss about the April sales numbers but said the data would be made publicly available by May 11. The people refused to be named as the data are preliminary and not yet public.

The estimated results mark a significant improvement from a 44.9% drop in March and 80.3% drop in February that Japan’s No.2 automaker earlier reported.

“We’re putting all efforts on China and the U.S. market to regain momentum,” stated the other source, adding Nissan was increasing marketing and offering incentives to dealers.

He also pointed to what he described as nascent signs of “changing views” on public transit and ride-hailing services resulting from the coronavirus outbreak which might have led some consumers to shun such services and opt to purchase cars instead.

In China, Nissan makes cars with state-owned Dongfeng Motor. Nissan said in January it aimed to sell 1.6 million vehicles in China this year.

Nissan’s improving sales also follow upbeat data provided by an auto industry group in China, cementing optimism that momentum that started forming from the start of this month has achieved a solid foothold.

The China Passenger Car Association said this week that sales of passenger cars increased 12.3% between April 20 and 25, helping to limit the reduction in sales in the first 25 days of the month to 1.6% from the same period a year ago.

China’s auto sales dropped 43.3% in March in their 21st consecutive month of decline, but were better compared to a 79% decline in February.

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