China auto sales expected to rise in April

An offline Tesla store in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, on April 21, 2020. [Photo/Sipa]

BEIJING -- China's auto sales in April is expected to hit 2 million units, data from an industry association showed.

The forecast represents a 39.8-percent growth from the previous month, or a growth of 0.9 percent year on year, according to China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM).

For the January-April period, auto sales are expected to total 5.67 million units, down 32.1 percent from a year ago, CAAM data showed.

China will encourage local authorities to roll out measures to help stimulate auto sales, Ministry of Commerce official Xian Guoyi said during an online news briefing.

To cushion the short-term impact the coronavirus outbreak has caused on auto sales, a pillar of China's consumption, local authorities could encourage purchases of new energy vehicles and unveil auto replacement policies, Xian said.