BEIJING -- Automakers in China are calling on the government to help after industrywide sales plunged 79 percent in February to mark their biggest ever monthly decline, with demand lashed by the coronavirus outbreak.
Their wish list includes cuts to the sales tax on smaller vehicles, measures to support sales in rural markets and an easing of vehicle emissions requirements, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said.
February sales in the world's biggest auto market tumbled to 310,000 from a year earlier, falling for a 20th straight month.
"China's auto sales for February returned to levels not seen since 2005," said Chen Shihua, a senior association official.
Sales of new energy vehicles, which include battery-electric cars, fell for an eighth month in a row, also hurt by a rollback in government subsidies.
CAAM said it is also calling for authorities to extend subsidies for new energy vehicles, ease restrictions on the number of consumers in big cities who are eligible to purchase the eco-friendly cars and expand investment in infrastructure such as charging stations.