China’s January Auto Sales Fell 18.7% Year-on-Year, Worse Than Forecasted

February 26, 2020 Updated: February 26, 2020
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SHANGHAI—Auto sales in China fell 18.7 percent in January, more than expected and marking the industry’s 19th consecutive month of sales decline, data from the country’s biggest auto industry association showed on Feb. 26.

The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) posted on its official WeChat account that new energy vehicle sales during the month fell 51.6 percent year-on-year, adding that declines in China’s automotive production and sales levels will be more significant in February due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The association had said on Feb. 13 that it was expecting total auto sales in the world’s biggest auto market to fall 18 percent in January from the same month a year earlier.

The industry is bracing for the impact of a coronavirus epidemic.

Local governments began imposing travel curbs and warning residents to avoid public spaces in the last two weeks of January, and industry executives said the epidemic was likely to wreak havoc on auto sales and production in the first quarter.

By Brenda Goh and Yilei Sun