BEIJING — Ford Motor Co. said on Thursday that its China vehicle sales in the first three months this year fell 35 percent from a year earlier to 88,770 units, as the coronavirus epidemic hit demand in the world’s biggest auto market.
The automaker said, however, that its dealers in China have resumed operations and sales in March reached 75 percent of year-ago levels.
Ford has been trying to revive sales in China after its business began slumping in late 2017. Sales sank 26 percent in 2019, after a 37 percent drop in 2018. In 2017, its China sales fell 6 percent from a year earlier.
China’s auto sales dropped 8 percent in 2019 and are expected to fall more than 5 percent this year. Overall auto sales slumped 42.4 percent in the first quarter.
Sales of Ford’s larger U.S. rival, General Motors, dropped 43 percent in China in the first quarter.