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Dow Jones Newswires: China auto sales decline for eighth month in a row

China’s car sales declined for the eighth straight month, as coronavirus outbreaks in some Chinese cities hit car production.

Retail sales of passenger cars in January fell 4.4% from a year earlier to 2.09 million vehicles, the China Passenger Car Association said Monday.

The passenger-car association expects the world’s biggest car market to remain sluggish in February, as the economic slowdown, tightened scrutiny in the real-estate sector and sporadic Covid-19 outbreaks may continue to weaken consumer demand.

Toyota Motor Corp.
TM,
-0.87%

said its sales in China last month dropped 21.5% from a year earlier, while the sales of two China joint ventures of Volkswagen AG fell 19.9% and 17.9% in January, data from the association showed.

Toyota and Volkswagen shut their plants in the northern Chinese city of Tianjin for more than a week last month after the city reported dozens of local Covid-19 cases.

Nissan Motor Co.’s sales fell 8.7% and Honda Motor Co.’s dropped 6.9%.

In January, sales of electric and plug-in hybrid cars more than doubled from a year earlier to 347,000 vehicles, the association said.

Tesla Inc.
TSLA,
-4.93%

sold 59,845 cars made at its Shanghai factory, 67.8% of which were exported outside China, data from the association showed.

Electric-car makers are facing growing pressure due to surging prices of lithium and other materials, coupled with the reduction of government subsidies for new-energy car purchases, the association said.

Last month, XPeng Inc.
XPEV,
-4.24%
,
which more than doubled sales to 12,922 vehicles, raised the prices of some models by up to $900. The company declined to comment on the price move.

Write to Singapore Editors at singaporeeditors@dowjones.com

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