Experts talked about the impact of coronavirus on the global auto industryFebruary 27, 2020
Some car factories in China open as the spread of coronavirus in the world continues, but sales in China in February fell significantly from the cliff. The virus also had some influence on Europe, where the FCA, Renault, BMW and Peugeot plants could soon stop. American factories are still operating normally.
Coronavirus is unpredictable, as is its effect on the automotive industry. Recently, there are more and more hints that the virus will play an increasing role in changing the picture of sales in Asia and Europe.
President Trump, along with representatives of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), held a press conference on February 26 to discuss concerns about containing the virus in the United States. A CDC spokesman said they are working to provide funding for the fight against the virus as part of a multi-purpose plan that includes expanding surveillance, supporting state and local governments, developing drugs and vaccines, and collecting masks and other protective materials for the public use.
Moody’s rating agency on Wednesday changed its forecast for global car sales in 2020. The agency previously reported that sales would decline by 0.9% in 2020 compared with 2019. The new forecast is that global sales will fall by 2.5%. The impact of the virus on car sales in China may be greater.
MTA Advanced Automotive Solutions, a supplier for a number of automakers who assemble cars in Europe, announced yesterday that since the Covid-19 was validated in Italian Kodog, where the MTA has a manufacturing plant, the conveyor will be closed indefinitely. 600 plant workers will be ordered to stay home, and “refusing to deliver the goods will actually stop the three production lines [Fiat Chrysler],” starting today, and from March 2, all other FCA plants in Europe, as well as Renault, BMW and Peugeot.
In China, things are worse: retail sales of cars in the first half of February fell by about 92% compared to the same period last year, and the annual Shanghai auto show had to be canceled.
General Motors is widely represented in China through a number of joint ventures with local companies. GM officials told reporters that on February 15, the concern resumed production at some factories in China, but its plants in Hubei, the epicenter of the coronavirus, will be closed at least until March 10. Even with all these closures, GM says it expects the coronavirus “to have no effect” on the US derivative.
Nissan’s local partner in China, DFL, has resumed work at three plants this month, but the Japanese automaker also believes that any impact on the US will be minimal. Volvo has also restarted one of its production sites in China and is waiting for local authorities to give full information before resuming assembly at other plants. Volvo says its production lines in Europe and the US are operating at a normal pace, and although some components are starting to end, “they are not critical, so we will not see any production interruptions in the near future.”
Toyota reduced production to one shift at its four automobile plants in China, while all Hyundai Motor Company production facilities in Korea and China are operating.
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