A trade war with the United States, weakening sales and now a disease epidemic are hammering China’s automakers. After the doldrums of 2019, this year could be another annus horribilis.
With about 3.5 million units, China leads the global market in absolute numbers of four-wheeler EVs on its roads, accounting for roughly half of the world’s fleet. Its two-wheeler fleet is also the largest. But year-on-year sales of new energy four-wheel vehicles plunged by 54.5% in January, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. The Chinese Automobile Dealers Association predicts an even bigger slump in February, by as much as 80%. Aggregate sales of battery EV and plug-in hybrids were about 1.2 million in 2019.
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