SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Auto sales in China fell 18.7% 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 Wednesday.
The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) posted on its official WeChat account that new energy vehicle sales during the month fell 51.6% 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% in January from the same month a year earlier.
The industry is bracing for the impact of a coronavirus epidemic that has killed 2,715 people by Feb. 26.
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.
Reporting by Brenda Goh and Yilei Sun, editing by Louise Heavens