Caixin
May 11, 2022 07:36 PM
BUSINESS

China’s Vehicle Production, Sales Plunged in April

What’s new: China produced 41.1% fewer cars in April compared with the same time last year, as fallout from Covid-19 outbreaks across the country continued to pummel the economy, hurting auto sales as well.

A total of 969,000 passenger vehicles rolled off assembly lines last month, according to data (link in Chinese) from the China Automobile Dealers Association (CADA), an industry group.

Retail sales of passenger vehicles dropped 35.5% year-on-year last month, the steepest fall on record, the association said Tuesday. Sales of new-energy passenger vehicles were better than petrol-powered ones, rising 78.4% year-on-year despite a fall of 36.5% from the previous month.

The context: Economic activity in many regions in China has slowed to a crawl since March due to strict measures to control the spread of the omicron variant of Covid-19 which have snarled supply chains, and shuttered dealerships and factories.

The automobile sector has been particularly hard hit given car production relies on thousands of components and carefully calibrated, just-in-time logistics.

Costs for domestic vehicle firms have risen substantially because of rising raw material prices and logistics fees, the CADA said. Also, consumers have been less willing to buy cars as slowing economic growth and the fallout of the pandemic has weakened confidence, it added.

The association said there was a possibility that May’s auto sales could rise on a month-to-month basis, but they wouldn’t exceed the number from May 2021. It called on authorities to take additional measures to encourage people to buy more cars, noting that the auto industry and related businesses account for a significant portion of the country’s GDP.

Related: Cover Story: The Disrupted Lifelines of the Shanghai Outbreak

Quick Takes are condensed versions of China-related stories for fast news you can use.

Contact reporter Guo Yingzhe (yingzheguo@caixin.com) and editor Heather Mowbray (heathermowbray@caixin.com)

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