China's vehicle production to fall 11.5% this year as demand slips due to lockdowns

The country's light vehicle sales is also set to drop in 2020 compared to last year

WUHAN, CHINA - MARCH 24: (CHINA OUT) An employee works on the assembly line at the Dongfeng Fengshen plant on March 24, 2020 in Wuhan, Hubei province, China. Wuhan has allowed car producers and auto part suppliers to resume work recently. The Dongfeng Passenger Vehicle Company has resumed production following epidemic prevention and control rules. Local media have reported that Wuhan will lift the lockdown on April 8. (Photo by Getty Images)
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China's light vehicle production will drop 11.5 per cent this year to around 21.6 million vehicles and will rebound by 7.5 per cent 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 US 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 per cent 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 per cent this year, is calling on the government to help after industry-wide sales plunged a record 79 per cent in February from a year earlier, with demand pummelled by the coronavirus pandemic.