A recovery in China’s car market is slowly gathering pace, with dealerships even in the initial virus epicenter of Wuhan seeing customers return.
Vehicle sales have been picking up since early February -- albeit from a near-zero level -- as showrooms gradually re-open their doors. In Wuhan, a city of 11 million, dealerships have been back in business for only a couple of weeks yet staff at some of them say daily sales have rebounded to pre-crisis levels.
“I was pretty shocked,”” said Zhang Jiaqi, a sales representative at an Audi dealer in the Wuchang district of Wuhan, which is now recording daily sales matching year-earlier levels. “It’s like a boom after a two-month dormancy. I thought sales would be frozen.”
The revival offers a sliver of hope for global carmakers from Audi parent Volkswagen Group to General Motors and Toyota Motor Corp., whose sales are slumping in other regions of the world as the virus spreads. A recovery in China would suggest that consumers are willing to again spend on big-ticket items soon after emerging from isolation and lockdowns.