1st LD Writethru-Economic Watch: Dramatic rebound in China's car output, sales adds to signs of a thawing market

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, April 10, 2020
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BEIJING, April 10 (Xinhua) -- China's auto production and sales rebounded remarkably in March, adding to signs of a gradual thaw in the car market, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) said Friday.

Automobile output stood at 1.42 million units last month, up 399.2 percent from February, while sales hit 1.43 million units, representing a month-on-month growth of 361.1 percent.

During the first quarter, China's auto production and sales amounted to 3.47 million units and 3.67 million units, down 45.2 percent and 42.4 percent, respectively, year on year.

As of Thursday, nearly all of the country's 204 car manufacturing bases had resumed production, with 86 percent of employees returning to work, data from the CAAM showed.

The car industry has been pivotal in propping up the national economy, as it has a long industry chain ranging from ferrous metal smelting, machinery manufacturing and creative design to smart manufacturing, artificial intelligence, sales, maintenance and insurance.

The country's authorities have implemented a raft of measures to revive the world's biggest car market which has been weighed down by the novel coronavirus epidemic in recent months.

With extended subsidies and tax exemptions in place, China is set to see a gradual thaw in its flagging car market after restrictions on social life were eased and dealerships reopened.

Volkswagen, the world's largest carmaker and one of China's best-selling manufacturers, said showroom traffic during the last weekend of March had rebounded to levels from the previous year, and its 2,000 dealerships had all resumed operations.

Volkswagen Group China CEO Stephan Wollenstein said: "Our dealerships are seeing customers on the showroom floors once again. There are growing signs of recovery, with a good chance that the Chinese car market could reach last year's level in early summer."

The auto industry is experiencing a phase of adjustment from quantity expansion to quality improvement and still has a huge future market, Cai Ronghua, a senior official with the National Development and Reform Commission, told a press conference on Thursday.

In a bid to further stimulate the market, the CAAM called for more incentive policies including encouraging purchases of low-emission cars and new energy vehicles, allowing the use of pickup trucks in cities, and providing more auto financing services to customers.

With more support policies and promotion measures in the pipeline, China's car sales are expected to return or even exceed year-ago levels in the second half, the CAAM said. Enditem

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