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February 28, 2020

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Spring Festival, coronavirus drag luxury car sales down in January

RETAIL sales of luxury cars in China fell 14.8 percent year on year to 271,000 units in January amid the Spring Festival and the COVID-19 outbreak, according to an industry report from the China Automobile Dealers Association.

“Working days in January this year were six days less than the same period last year and consumers postponed their buying decision due to the COVID-19 situation,” said Li Yanwei, an analyst with the association.

The drop in the luxury car market comes amid a general downturn in Chinese auto sales. Sales fell 18 percent in January from a year earlier, marking the 19th consecutive monthly decline. But industry insiders expect a rebound in April if the epidemic is brought under control.

China will also roll out policies to stabilize automobile consumption and mitigate the impact of the epidemic on the market, the Ministry of Commerce said earlier.

In January, retail sales of Mercedes-Benz dealers were 81,000 units, an increase of 4.3 percent from December. BMW dealers’ sales totaled 63,000 units, a decrease of 28 percent from the previous month and Audi dealers’ sales dropped 23 percent to 58,000 units.

Luxury sedan sales dropped 17 percent year on year to 144,000 units in January. The Mercedes-Benz E-Class led the segment, with nearly 20,000 units sold by dealers in January, followed by Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Audi A6L vehicles.

Luxury sport-utility vehicle sales also declined. Sales of premium SUVs declined 9.6 percent year on year to 117,000 units.

The report noted that the mid-size SUV segment was the only segment to increase in the first month of this year, while small and large SUVs both retreated. The Mercedes-Benz GLC, Audi Q5L and BMW X3 were the top three models.

Li said that “although some dealers resumed work in the third week of February, customers and orders at 4S stores were relatively small.

From information provided by some dealers from several cities including Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen, most dealers’ new car sales were less than 10 vehicles.

“Some dealers sold only a few more in the third week of February, after resuming work.”


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