(Yicai Global) March 9 -- Production and sales of passenger cars in China nose-dived last month as the extended Lunar New Year holiday and the deadly Covid-19 epidemic combined to weigh on the world's biggest auto market.
Production fell 80.6 percent to 215,000 vehicles in February from a year earlier, according to data released today by the China Passenger Car Association. Sales dropped 78.5 percent to 252,000.
Last month's downturn was beyond expectations. Most dealers sold no vehicles in the first three weeks as showrooms across the country remained closed. Due to production shutdowns and slow commercial recovery, sales at 4S dealerships have been relatively anemic this month. A recovery through April is seen as slow, but a return to normal is anticipated after May.
Sales of sedans fell 78.4 percent to 124,649 in February, while those of Multi-Purpose Vehicles declined 80.2 percent to 17,721 and Sport Utility Vehicles fell 78.4 percent to 109,938. Sales of new energy passenger cars dropped 77.7 percent to 11,000.
Automakers FAW-Volkswagen, SAIC-Volkswagen and Geely ranked as the top three with sales of 30,185, 27,700 and 19,600 respectively.
Car sales for the full year may decline 8 percent, 3 percentage points lower than what was expected at the beginning of the year and 9 points lower than forecast at the end of last year, if no strong stimulus policy is forthcoming at the national level.