Oxford, UK – Coronavirus in China reduced January's car sales in the country by almost 21%. It also helped to drag the worldwide number of registrations down, according to consultants LMC Automotive.
World car registrations in January 2020 were lower by 10.4% than in the same month in 2019 at 6.48m units. Chinese sales were 1.9m units, down 20.7% on the previous month. In January 2019, Chinese dealers sold 2.4m units.
The coronavirus outbreak in China hit sales in the month. LMC Automotive said that, as the virus spreads, there is no doubt that sales are plunging further in February. 'Many car dealers and car makers had not restarted production by mid-February,' it said. 'The effect of the virus could be felt for a prolonged period.'
In the US, sales were almost unchanged in the month, at 1.1m units. But, according to LMC figures, North America was the high spot for sales in the month. The consultants added that a number of US OEMs have stopped reporting monthly figures, and that this is an estimate.
In Western Europe, meanwhile, sales were 1.2m units in the month. This is 7% lower than the amount sold in January 2019. The fall in January came as the new EU binding emissions regulations came into effect, with the prospect of new regulations dragging sales forward from January into December 2019. Cars sold in December 2019 are not included in the CO2 calculations for 2020.
Sales in Brazil and Argentina fell to 227,000 units in the month. This compares with 249,000 units in the same month in 2019. Brazil is moving to a new licence plate, and it is possible that 9000 cars were not registered in the month. In Argentina, slumping sales of cars and light vehicles mirrors the sluggish economy, LMC Automotive said.