China’s Car Sales Plunge 35.5% Amid Covid Lockdowns

By Selina Cheng

HONG KONG – Car sales in China plunged 35.5% from a year earlier in April, recording their worst drop in two years as manufacturers in the east of the country struggled with weeks-long disruptions amid strict Covid-19 lockdowns.

Passenger-car sales in April tumbled to 1.04 million vehicles, the China Passenger Car Association said Tuesday. Car production fell 41.1% to 969,000 vehicles, it said.

The nosedive was expected as the market had already begun a downturn in March as manufacturers began to feel the pain of lockdowns. The pandemic measures have shuttered factories, disrupted supply chains and kept car buyers at home.

Cities including Shanghai and Changchun dealt with tough mobility restrictions for more than a month until authorities began to ease some of the curbs in late April. Both regions are major centers of automobile manufacturing, home to dozens of plants run by Tesla Inc., Volkswagen AG, General Motors Co. and state-owned FAW Group.

Last month, Tesla made 10,757 cars at its Shanghai factory but only sold 1,512 vehicles, according to data from the association. Tesla didn’t export cars from China in April, the association said.

Electric car sales grew 78.4% in April to 282,000 vehicles. The growth came as EV startups NIO Inc., XPeng Inc. and Li Auto Inc. saw production hammered by supply-chain disruptions, factory shutdowns and difficulties with transportation.

–Raffaele Huang contributed to this report.

Write to Selina Cheng at [email protected]

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