China car sales collapse by a staggering 92 per cent due to coronavirus.

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“There was barely anybody at car dealers in the first week of February,” says CPCA.

Sales of passenger vehicles have collapsed by 92 per cent in China, the world’s biggest auto market, during the first 16 days of February due to the coronavirus outbreak.

According to the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA), the virus has slammed the brakes on businesses and is wreaking havoc on the automotive industry across the stricken country.

Data from the CPCA revealed that just 4,909 vehicles were sold in the first 16 days of February, down from 59,930 in the same period last year.

“There was barely anybody at car dealers in the first week of February as most people stayed at home,” said CPCA secretary general Cui Dongshu. “Very few dealerships opened in the first weeks of February, and they have had very little customer traffic,” he added.

China’s auto market is likely to see sales slide more than 10 per cent in the first half of the year due to the epidemic, and around 5 per cent for the whole year if the virus is not contained before April according to the country’s top auto industry body, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM). More than 25 million vehicles were sold last year and to salvage the situation, carmakers such as Geely have ramped up their online services in a bid to get customers buying new vehicles without having to leave home.

The news comes days after Jaguar Land Rover said it was currently making no sales in China while Japanese carmakers Nissan and Honda have delayed restarting their manufacturing plants near the centre of the outbreak until the middle of March.