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China wholesales April 2020: Market up 0.9%, first year-on-year gain since June 2018 as post-virus recovery is confirmed

New car sales in China have already debuted their post-virus recovery.

This is a preliminary update, complete data will be published when available.

After we already reported on signs of recovery with retail sales up 14% year–year over the April 7-12 week, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) announced today that new vehicle wholesales in China are actually up year-on-year in April at +0.9% to 2 million units, confirming a spectacular post-coronavirus recovery after February deliveries collapsed -79.1% and March was off -43.3%. This is the first year-on-year gain for Chinese sales since June 2018, putting an end to 21 consecutive months of declines, a stretch unseen since 1990. Geely was the first manufacturer to report April sales yesterday, showing a 2% year-on-year gain to 105.468 units including volumes up 1.6% to 95.312 at Geely and up 11.6% to 10.156 at Lynk & Co. VW’s low-cost brand Jetta also reported “strong” volumes.

The government has extended tax breaks and subsidies for New Energy Vehicles by two years up to 2022, as well as allowed the sales of light trucks that do not comply with the new China VI emission standards for six more months after the initial Jual 1 deadline. Local governments have been offering cash for new car purchases, and pent-up demand during the lockdown coupled with worries about the safety of public transport have helped prop the market back up. The year-to-date tally is now down -32% over the same period in 2019 to 5.67 million units. Note these are wholesales or factory shipments, which show that dealerships have already gone through their stock – this is a good sign for the overall market recovery. We have updated our 2020 China wholesales forecast to -9% and 23.4m units vs. -12% and 22.6m a month ago.

Previous post: China retail 7-12 April 2020: Sales up 14% year-on-year

Previous month: China wholesales March 2020: Mercedes (-3.8%), BMW (-12.9%), Toyota (-23%) lead market recovery (-43.3%)

One year ago: China wholesales April 2019: Honda (+23.1%), Toyota (+22.2%), BMW (+31.3%) stun in market back in hell (-14.6%)

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