Israeli import company Orion Mobility said on Sunday that Chinese automaker Guangzhou Automobile Group Co, Ltd. (GAC) has started selling electric cars in Israel. GAC’s Trumpchi GE3, a subcompact crossover SUV with a driving range of 309 km (192 miles), will be sold. China’s EV business accounts for 50% of global EV sales, and domestic competition for EV car production is deep. It makes sense that China would begin to export its electric vehicles abroad.
This news was released amidst a “historic plunge” in China’s car sales, which “are set to fall by 25% to 30% in the January-February period, according to a preliminary forecast” from the China Passenger Car Association, per Bloomberg (porous paywall). Annual car sales could drop by 5% as a result. Hubei Province, home to Wuhan (the origin of the coronavirus outbreak), is China’s fourth-largest car manufacturing hub (porous paywall). The hiatus in car production due to the virus is the main cause for the slump in sales. Guangdong Province, which comprises 12.8% of light vehicle production and Hubei Province, which accounts for 9%, have both extended the Lunar New Year holiday period to prevent the virus from spreading further. Automakers have taken a hit, and the impacts will ripple through the supply chain. Tesla, Toyota, and Hyundai are among other automakers who have put production on hold in lieu of coronavirus disruptions. However, this may not be a bad thing for domestic Chinese car manufacturers, as they have historically produced more cars than they have sold.