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ECONOMY | 03-05-2020 10:05

Automobile sales in Argentina slump to historic low amid Covid-19 pandemic

Automobile sales in Argentina slumped to a historic low in April amid the economic crisis prompted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Automobile sales in Argentina slumped to a historic low in April amid the economic crisis prompted by the coronavirus pandemic, an industry body has revealed.

The registration of new patents fell to just 4,385 vehicles, though even those were mostly operations agreed before the nationwide shutdown, the Association of Automotive Dealers of the Argentine Republic (ACARA) said in a press release.

"The situation of preventive and compulsory social isolation and the closure of automotive registrations generated an April with the lowest level in the history of activity," said the business entity in a statement.

Argentina has been under mandatory social confinement for more than 45 days.

According to government data, roughly 75 percent of the population are only leaving their homes for banking, to buy food items or to receive medical assistance. The remaining 25 percent are circulating only at a minimum, to keep essential services running.

The car market was already suffering a sharp drop amid the ongoing recession, which has dragged on in Argentina for two years. Just 459,592 vehicles were sold last year – 42.7 percent down that the total sold in 2018.

Automotive commercial activity needs measures "so that the situation does not become unsustainable in terms of employment, production and sales," ACARA said in a statement.

The government has launched multiple emergency packages to try and help citizens and companies in the wake of the economic shutdown, saying it will spend at least 5.6 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) on subsidies, credit-lines and wages to workers at paralysed companies.

Argentina's automobile industry has been in existence for more than 70 years and numerous multinationals have manufacturing and assembly plants in Argentina. In 2013, touching a historical high, more than one million units were sold. 

The historical sales record touched one million units in 2013. The automotive industry has been in existence for more than 70 years. Numerous multinationals operate with manufacturing and assembly plants.

– TIMES/AFP

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