China's passenger car sales tumble 47% in first half of March due to virus outbreak

FILE PHOTO: Cars for export wait to be loaded onto cargo vessels at a port in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province, China October 14, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer

BEIJING (Reuters) - Retail sales of China’s passenger car crumbled 47% on an annual basis in the first 15 days of March, according to the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA), as the coronavirus outbreak slammed the brakes on businesses across the country.

“Some cities are encouraging people to return to normal life, however, consumers’ confidence in car purchases is unlikely to return to normal before the end of March,” the industry body said.

Reporting by Yilei Sun and Brenda Goh; Editing by Alex Richardson