Nearly 91 percent of franchised new-car dealerships in China have reopened despite the lingering coronavirus outbreak, but showroom traffic remains at just 53 percent of normal levels, a major trade group said.
The latest survey by the China Automobile Dealers Association, which covers 8,393 franchised dealerships across China, shows showroom traffic varies widely among brands.
Stores operated by Chinese brands reported the lowest level of showroom traffic -- 35 percent of levels considered normal for this time of the year.
Dealerships marketing domestically built, foreign mass-market brands saw showroom traffic climb back to 54 percent of normal levels.
For stores distributing luxury brands and imported cars, showroom traffic was at 57 percent of normal levels, according to the survey.
Retail passenger car sales fell 47 percent in the first 15 days of March, according to the China Passenger Car Association, as the coronavirus outbreak slammed the brakes on consumer and business activity across the country.
"Some cities are encouraging people to return to normal life, however, consumers' confidence in car purchases is unlikely to return to normal before the end of March," the industry group said.
Beijing, in an extraordinary step to help contain the outbreak, extended the Chinese New Year holiday by an extra week to Feb. 9, limited travel and adopted other restrictions.
The survey also shows that 9.2 percent of franchised dealerships remained closed Monday for failing to obtain approval from local governments, which require businesses to provide sufficient protective resources for customers and employees.