FILE PHOTO: The Chinese national flag flies on the roof of a Ford car dealership in Beijing, China October 11, 2018. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

BEIJING (Reuters) – Ford Motor Co (F.N) said on Thursday that its China vehicle sales in the first three months this year fell 34.9{d93457022679712214ff8a8035fa266341f9634f2c93d5e609b1bbb089e8c446} from a year earlier to 88,770 units, as the novel coronavirus epidemic hit demand in the world’s biggest auto market.

The Dearborn, Michigan-based company said, however, all its dealers in China had resumed work and its sales in March had returned to 75{d93457022679712214ff8a8035fa266341f9634f2c93d5e609b1bbb089e8c446} of the same period last year.

In China, Ford makes cars through Jiangling Motors Corp Ltd (JMC) (000550.SZ), in which it has a stake, and a joint venture with Chongqing Changan Automobile Co Ltd (000625.SZ).

Ford has been trying to revive sales in China after its business began slumping in late 2017. Sales sank 26{d93457022679712214ff8a8035fa266341f9634f2c93d5e609b1bbb089e8c446} in 2019, after a 37{d93457022679712214ff8a8035fa266341f9634f2c93d5e609b1bbb089e8c446} drop in 2018. In 2017, its China sales fell 6{d93457022679712214ff8a8035fa266341f9634f2c93d5e609b1bbb089e8c446} from a year earlier.

China’s auto sales dropped 8{d93457022679712214ff8a8035fa266341f9634f2c93d5e609b1bbb089e8c446} in 2019 and are expected to fall more than 5{d93457022679712214ff8a8035fa266341f9634f2c93d5e609b1bbb089e8c446} this year. Overall auto sales slumped 42.4{d93457022679712214ff8a8035fa266341f9634f2c93d5e609b1bbb089e8c446} in the first quarter.

Sales of Ford’s larger U.S. rival, General Motors Co (GM.N), dropped 43.3{d93457022679712214ff8a8035fa266341f9634f2c93d5e609b1bbb089e8c446} in China in the first quarter.

Reporting by Yilei Sun and Brenda Goh; Editing by Toby Chopra, Robert Birsel

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Source Article