VW's Skoda says deliveries fell 19% in 2020, biggest hit in China

FILE PHOTO: A Skoda logo is pictured during the Volkswagen Group's annual general meeting in Berlin, Germany, May 3, 2018. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

PRAGUE (Reuters) - Global deliveries by Volkswagen’s Skoda Auto fell 19.1% to 1.005 million vehicles in 2020, hit by the COVID-19 pandemic which caused production outages and closures of dealerships, the Czech carmaker said on Tuesday.

The carmaker delivered more than 1 million vehicles for the seventh year running but suffered like many peers as the pandemic hit output and sales, largely in the second quarter.

The company saw its biggest drop in China, its largest single market, where deliveries fell 38.7% in 2020, shrinking for a second straight year.

Skoda said the second half of the year saw improvement and its board member responsible for sales, Alain Favey, said he viewed the coming months with moderate optimism, despite a surge in COVID-19 infections.

While the Czech Republic and other countries in Europe have been hit harder by growing number of infections, factories have kept their gates open, unlike near the outset of the pandemic.

Czech industrial output grew on a year-on-year basis in October and November, according to the latest data available, after crashing in April and May.

Skoda is the country’s biggest exporter, shipping the vast majority of its cars abroad.

In Europe, Skoda said its market share increased to 5.4%.

Reporting by Jason Hovet; Editing by Jan Lopatka and Pravin CHar