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China Reports 40% Drop in March Car Sales

By Howard Smith - Apr 9, 2020 at 11:30AM

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Industry association says Tesla's March sales in China hit a record.

In a sign that the Chinese economy has begun to pick back up from COVID-19 related lockdowns, March passenger car sales results showed an improvement over the previous month. The China Passenger Car Association (CPCA) reports that March sales were down 40.8% year-over-year, according to Reuters. This compares to a drop of 80% for February sales in China

The CPCA also reports that Tesla Inc. (TSLA 1.24%) sales in China reached 10,160 vehicles in March, a new record. It should be noted that these figures will differ somewhat from Tesla's reported deliveries, as CPCA uses a different method to count vehicle sales. The company defines deliveries as having a vehicle transferred to a customer, with all correct paperwork finalized.

auto assembly line with robots welding on vehicle frames

Image source: Getty Images.

When Tesla reported its first quarter production and delivery results, it noted that its Shanghai plant "continued to achieve record levels of production, despite significant setbacks." This is to be expected, given that the factory produced its first vehicles in December of 2019, meaning that the first quarter of 2020 was the first full quarter in which the factory was equipped to manufacture vehicles. The factory was closed in late January in the midst of the coronavirus spread, and reopened on February 10, 2020. 

For context, the CPCA said that Tesla sold 3,900 units in February and 2,620 units in January. Teslas account for about 30% of battery electric vehicle sales in China, according to the CPCA. 

Total March sales in China totaled 1.08 million units. The CPCA predicts that April sales volume will be "much higher."

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