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China's Virus Outbreak Has Dented Its Automakers' Bottom Lines

Feb 20, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
This photo shows workers at Dongfeng Motor's joint venture with Honda in Wuhan, China.

Honda's joint venture with Dongfeng Motor Corp. in Wuhan, China, shown in this 2019 photo, is one of several auto manufacturing and parts plants in the city and Hubei province idled by the coronavirus outbreak.

(STR/AFP via Getty Images)

China’s deadly coronavirus outbreak has left few of its economic sectors unscathed, but the effects of shutdowns on its auto manufacturing operations have been -- and will continue to remain -- especially acute. Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak, has asked companies not to restart shuttered operations until at least Feb. 21. Production for a number of auto companies outside of Hubei had already been delayed past the Lunar New Year holiday until Feb. 10, and in some cases, production still remains offline. Nevertheless, even once the outbreak subsides, Chinese consumer demand for automobiles will take a substantial hit this year, with estimates showing that demand could fall by at least 5 percent because of the economic slowdown associated with the coronavirus outbreak....

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