China's vehicle production to drop 11.5% this year: IHS Markit

FILE PHOTO: Robotic arms paint a car at the BYD Automobile Company Limited Xi’an plant, in Shaanxi province, China December 25, 2019. Picture taken December 25, 2019. China Daily via REUTERS

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s light vehicle production will drop 11.5% this year to around 21.6 million vehicles and will rebound by 7.5% next year, research firm IHS Markit predicted on Monday.

Production and demand for vehicles have been hammered across the world by lockdowns aimed at curtailing the coronavirus outbreak, which has spread from China to Europe, the United States and elsewhere.

“The latest forecast takes the extended shutdown of auto plants in March and the supply chain disruption caused by the extended shutdown of the plants in Hubei province into consideration,” IHS Markit said in a post on its social media wechat account.

“For Chinese automakers which purchase auto parts from Europe, the disruption of production in Europe may be a risk factor. But at this stage, we have not seen the European coronavirus epidemic directly affect Chinese auto production,” IHS Markit added.

Last week, IHS Markit estimated China’s light vehicle sales this year would drop 9.9% from last year to around 22.4 million vehicles, if China’s central government does not roll out measures to boost auto demand.

China’s Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), which expects China’s overall auto sales to drop 5% this year, is calling on the government to help after industry-wide sales plunged a record 79% in February from a year earlier, with demand pummelled by the coronavirus pandemic.

Reporting by Yilei Sun and Norihiko Shirouzu; Editing by Mark Potter