Toyota and Mazda report first China sales increase since COVID-19 outbreak
Toyota Motor and Mazda Motor both posted increases in car sales in China in April, their first monthly gains since the novel coronavirus broke out in January as an indicator of potential market demand returns.
On Friday, Toyota reported that it sold 142,900 vehicles across the country in April, rising 0.2 per cent from the same month last year, boosted by sales of popular models such as the Corolla and Levin.
“More people are going out and spending their money as the problem of the novel coronavirus has slowed down,” said an employee at a dealer in Guangdong Province selling Toyotas. “The belief that private vehicles tend to a lower risk of contamination compared with public transport has also contributed to the demand for new vehicles.”
Mazda’s national sales also grew, rising to 17,091 vehicles in April year-on-year by 1 per cent.
Total automotive purchases in China in April have risen for the first time in almost two years, according to a local automotive industry association.
And while some say the demand is coming back, there are uncertainties.
Most observers see the sales increase in April as merely representing the pent-up demand from buyers who were unable to purchase new cars during China’s coronavirus shutdown between January and March.
Meanwhile, Honda Motor revealed on Friday that its April sales were down 9.5 per cent from last year’s same month to 113,430 vehicles. The decline was marginal relative to February’s 85.1 per cent collapse and March’s 50.8 per cent drop. Honda had stopped production at its main factory in the province of Hubei until mid-March. At the end of April, the factory and its distributors had returned to regular activities.