The deadly coronavirus that has plagued China for weeks continues to hamper new-vehicle sales as dealers struggle to resume operations. Only 20 percent of China’s auto dealerships have reopened as of Tuesday, the China Automobile Dealers Association said, citing results of a survey of 2,895 franchised stores across the country.
At the same time, dealer inventories remain elevated, the group said.
More than 73 percent of dealerships surveyed said they remain subject to strict and lengthy processes to obtain local government approval to reopen, CADA said.
A lack of face masks and other protective measures, employee shortages stemming from travel restrictions and anticipation of low showroom traffic, as consumers hunker down at home or elsewhere amid the epidemic, are also undermining dealers, CADA said.
To help dealerships pull through the viral outbreak, the trade group published an open letter last week urging China's Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission to prod banks to extend loans and expand credit lines for dealerships.
As of Wednesday, 59 of China’s 183 auto-industry production bases tracked by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers had resumed output, according to the group.
CAAM estimates the coronavirus outbreak will disrupt production of more than 1 million vehicles, it said.