Chinese auto industry makes a jumpstart as lockdown becomes lifted

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This photo taken on 10 May 2020 shows people looking at Volkswagen cars on display at a showroom in Beijing

The lifting of coronavirus lockdowns in China has given the stuttering auto industry a jumpstart, with sales rising for the first time in two years as buyers return as the health crisis eases, AFP reports.

Sales in the world’s biggest car market began to slide in 2018 and plunged further when the pandemic paralysed the economy, but they have rebounded as the country tames the virus and lifts restrictions on travel and businesses.

Sales rose 4.4% year-on-year in April, the latest figures from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers show, driven by strong demand for commercial vehicles, which soared more than 30%.

The recent uptick came as China emerged from months of lockdown and restrictions on movement imposed around the country earlier this year to curb the spread of the virus.

Passenger car sales suffered at the time, plunging close to 80% from a year ago in February, according to China Passenger Car Association data.