Covid lockdowns cause chaos in world’s biggest car market

Strict lockdown measures in places such as Shanghai and Jilin province have forced automakers to halt manufacturing and risk delaying shipments at a time of strong global demand for vehicles.

volkswagen (VLKPF) Factories in Shanghai and Changchun, the provincial capital of Jilin, have been closed for weeks, the company said Monday.

“Due to the current Covid situation, production at our plants in Changchun (since mid-March) and Anting/Shanghai (since April 1) is currently suspended,” Volkswagen said in a written response to CNN. Business. “This is currently causing a delay in production.”

The company added that it would compensate for production stoppages “if the situation improves in the near future”, through additional teams and other measures. “At the moment, we are evaluating the situation day by day,” he added.

Nio (NIO)a Chinese electric vehicle maker, also said on Saturday it had suspended production due to Covid-related disruptions.

“Since March, due to the pandemic, the company’s supplier partners in multiple locations, including Jilin, Shanghai and Jiangsu, have suspended production one after another and have yet to recover,” the company said. in a press release. “Therefore, Nio has stopped car production,” he said, adding that the company will postpone deliveries of its electric vehicles to users.

It’s not just the individual manufacturers. The Beijing auto show, one of the world’s biggest industry gatherings, has been postponed until further notice due to the recent spike in Covid cases. The event was originally scheduled to be held from April 21 to April 30.

“We will pay close attention to the development of the pandemic,” Auto China’s secretariat said in a message on its official WeChat account on Saturday, adding that it would announce new dates in due course.

Tesla unable to restart Shanghai production on Monday

This means that several new car launches will be delayed. Chinese electric vehicle makers Nio, XPeng and Li Auto previously said they would unveil new models at the Beijing auto show.

Covid restrictions have also weighed on the country’s car sales.

Auto sales in China fell 12% in March from a year ago, reversing a 19% increase in February and ending two consecutive months of growth, data from the The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers showed on Monday.

The association attributed the drop to the recent increase in Covid cases.

The pandemic has been great for electric car sales
Monday’s data, however, showed a bright spot: Chinese demand for electric vehicles remains strong.

About 455,000 new energy vehicles, including hybrids and pure electric vehicles, were sold in March, up 122% from a year ago, according to separate data from the China Passenger Car Association.

You’re here (TSLA)Sales from China were particularly strong, ranking first among purely electric brands.

The company delivered 65,814 China-made vehicles in March, with the majority of them sold in the Chinese market. This number is up 85% from a year ago.

BYD (BYDDF), meanwhile, sold the most new-energy vehicles in China, shipping 104,878 units in March. Of these, 53,664 were purely electric models.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment on its March sales numbers.

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