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Car production resumes at almost full pace as coronavirus restrictions ease in China

Car production resumes at almost full pace as coronavirus restrictions ease in China
Almost all car production lines in China have returned to business after prolonged closures aimed at preventing the spread of coronavirus, according to a survey cited by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM).

The poll of 204 auto manufacturing bases shows that 86 percent of employees returned to work, while the production resumption rate hit 99.5 percent, the association said on Friday.

However, China’s auto market, which was hit hard by the pandemic as demand was crippled, is struggling to get sales back to normal after prolonged lockdowns and restrictions. Sales on the world’s biggest auto market declined 43.3 percent in March compared to the same period in 2019.

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The fall was less dramatic than in February, when the annual results showed that car sales tanked nearly 80 percent as the country struggled to contain the deadly virus.

The CAAM expects the market to accelerate its recovery in the next several months, but warns that it could be difficult to offset the damage already inflicted on the industry.

“If we only consider domestic factors, we believe the industry in the second half of the year should be able to recover to the level of the same period last year,” it said in a statement.

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Covid-19 sank auto sales across the globe and gloomy forecasts indicate that the situation will only get worse as the pandemic has shifted from China to Europe and the US. Sales of sedans and SUVs were cut in half last month on the European market, while the situation in the US was not much better, with a decline of 40 percent, according to Forbes.

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