Coronavirus seriously stalling global auto industry

James Raia

Geely, the large China-based automotive manufacturer, is among many car companies affected by the coronavirus.

Like it has in many other industries, the coronavirus is affecting the global automotive industry, and the repercussions are fluid.

Here’s a round-up of some of the issues in the car industry as COVID-19 spreads throughout the world, with its reach to more than 50 countries:

Geely, the large China-based automotive manufacturer, is among many car companies affected by the coronavirus.
Geely, the largest China-based automotive manufacturer, is among many car companies whose businesses have been affected by the coronavirus.

* The Geneva Auto Show, scheduled to begin March 2 for the media and March 5-15 for the public, has been canceled due to concerns about the coronavirus.

Annually among the most important car shows, the event was canceled because the Swiss government has banned gatherings of more than 1,000 people to prevent the spread of the virus. The show will not be rescheduled for this year. Switzerland has tested hundreds of people and confirmed 15 Coronavirus cases.

* China’s annual auto show, scheduled to begin April 21 in Beijing, has been postponed because of the coronavirus. Officially called the Beijing International Automotive Exhibition, organizers said the event may be rescheduled.

* After a worker tested positive for the coronavirus, Hyundai has closed a factory in South Korea. Hyundai’s production facilities have already faced shutdowns over the past month because of parts shortages from China.

The current shut down will affect the production of the automaker’s SUV models, including the Palisade, the Tucson, Santa Fe and others. The automaker has placed colleagues who were in contact with the worker in self-quarantine and are taking steps to test those employees for the virus. The company said it is disinfecting the factory.

* Chinese carmaker Geely has joined other automakers and aunched a new online service to try to boost sales in the country because of plummeting sales connected to the coronavirus. Tesla, BMW and Mercedes-Benz are also increasing their online sales marketing efforts.

According to the consulting firm Frost & Sullivan estimates nearly 825,000 new vehicles were sold online globally in 2019. It estimates that by 2025, six million vehicles will be sold through online platforms and says “the coronavirus will provide impetus to digital retailing for cars”.

China is the world’s biggest car market, selling more than 21 million vehicles last year.

* Aston Martin has struggled financially for years; the coronavirus won’t help the luxury carmaker. The British carmaker, rumors to be headed toward its eighth bankruptcy in its 107-year history, reported it has secured supplies until the end of March via Chinese companies.

Some automotive analysts believe a larger concern is the effect on sales in the Chinese market. Aston Martin is preparing for the debut of the DBX, its first sport utility vehicle. Aston Martin sold 5,862 cars globally in 2019.

Article Last Updated: February 28, 2020.

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