China Car Sales Continue To Crater, Down 83% For The Third Week In February

Chinese auto sales continue to be a sinking ship on the heels of both an auto recession that has been in full swing for the last 18-24 months - and now the impact of the coronavirus.

Though the narrative coming out of China is that the country is attempting to return to some normalcy, the data from the company's auto market tells us very differently. Retail car sales in the country are down 83% year over year for the third week in February. For the week, the country's auto sales dropped to 5,411 units per day, according to the China Passenger Car Association.

They also stated that vehicle production and sales would show a "more noticeable" drop in February than in January, something Zero Hedge readers already knew based on our analysis of January numbers out of China, where we said exactly that. The CAAM said that January vehicle sales fell 18.7% on the year and 27.5% on month.

But the story is going to be from February onward. 

Recall, just 5 days ago we wrote that Chinese auto sales had gone into "full collapse" and fell 92% for the first half of February. 

China recorded 4,909 units sold in the first 16 days of the month, which is down from 59,930 in the same period last year. We said then what we'll say again today: "If this figure doesn't make it clear that the pandemic is having an effect outside of Hubei province in China, we're not sure what will do it.

 

The China Passenger Car Association said days ago: “Very few dealerships opened in the first weeks of February and they have had very little customer traffic.”

Photographs out of China, as the virus rages its way through several major eastern cities, make the country look like something between a ghost town and wasteland. 

Which it why it wasn't surprising late last week to hear CPCA Secretary General Cui Dongshu say: "There was barely anybody at car dealers in the first week of February as most people stayed at home."

Again, Zero Hedge readers should not be surprised by the February numbers. We noted that while China's January decline was partially attributable to the coronavirus outbreak, it wasn't until the end of January and early February when China was placed essentially on a full lockdown due to the outbreak of the virus.

We'd like to speculate that the small tick up in the third week of February is a promising sign, but we think we know better. We'll continue to follow the story very closely and will update when new data becomes available.