The viral outbreak that has largely paralyzed China Inc. is making it impossible for automakers and most other industries to normalize operations. Volkswagen Group, the largest carmaker in China, on Monday became the latest to postpone by another week the start of production at a joint venture with SAIC Motor Corp.
General Motors lost ground in China last month as its two joint ventures both underperformed the overall market. Sales at SAIC-GM, GM’s car joint venture with SAIC Motor Corp., slipped 30 percent to 125,464 in January, according to figures SAIC disclosed last week.
New-vehicle sales in China declined 18 percent to 1.94 million in January as the early Lunar New Year holiday and worries over the spread of the deadly coronavirus curbed showroom traffic and dealer orders, signaling the industry’s two-year slide will continue in 2020.
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.