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IHS slashes 2020 global light vehicle sales outlook on coronavirus hit

(Reuters) – Data firm IHS Markit sharply lowered its 2020 forecast for global light vehicle sales on Tuesday and warned that the United States will take the biggest hit from the coronavirus pandemic.

FILE PHOTO: Parked cars are seen at the Vauxhall plant as the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Ellesmere Port, Britain March 16, 2020. REUTERS/Phil Noble

IHS, which closely tracks automotive sales and production trends, said it expects global light vehicle sales to fall 22{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f} to 70.3 million units in 2020, from prior estimates of a more than 12{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f} drop.

In the United States, where most states have allowed online purchases but inventories still remain high, the consultancy firm expects auto sales to fall 26.6{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f} to 12.5 million units in 2020, compared with a year earlier.

Vehicle production largely remains shut down in April in North America as automakers have been forced to delay introductions or planned ramp-ups of several new vehicles.

The United States here has the world’s largest number of confirmed coronavirus cases, with more than 774,000 infections and a death toll of at least 42,000.

In China, IHS warned it would take time for a full production recovery despite most factories restarting work.

It now expects sales in Mainland China to decline more than 15.5{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f} to 21 million units, more than its previous estimate of a 10{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f} decline.

IHS estimates global light vehicle production to drop 21.2{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f}, with the biggest disruption coming in the first half of the year.

In the second half of the year, the data firm expects production to pick up, but still be down nearly 8{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f}, compared with an overall decline of 35{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f} in the first half.

IHS’ forecast comes a day after consultancy firm LMC Automotive said it expects global auto sales to fall more than 20{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f} to around 71 million in 2020 as a result of the virus outbreak and ensuing recession.

Reporting by Rachit Vats in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel

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