Coronavirus-related factory stoppages have affected every automaker, but some are suffering more than others, a new analysis has found.
Companies with more capacity in China, where the lockdowns were relatively short and focused on the province of Hubei, fared better than those heavily invested in Europe, India and North America, LMC Automotive said Thursday.
Overall LMC is forecasting that global auto production will fall by 20 percent to about 71 million vehicles.
“This is a far deeper shutdown process in Europe compared to China,” LMC analyst Justin Cox said, noting that production in Europe was down by 90 percent in April.
The prospects of a strong recovery in May are slim, as assembly plants resume operations in fits and starts and with limited output.
As a result of the closings, global plant utilization rates will fall by 14 percentage points in 2020, from just over 60 percent to around 46 percent, LMC said.
The biggest loser is likely to be Suzuki, which can expect to lose 33 percent of its annual production. Group affiliate Maruti Suzuki is the biggest automaker in India, where factories remain closed and auto sales were close to zero in April. Maruti Suzuki sold 1.56 million vehicles in the fiscal year ending March 31 in India, a 16 percent decrease from 2018 after the government shut down all production and sales starting March 22.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles may lose 29 percent of annual production, because of its heavy production presence in Italy, where lockdowns were put in place before the rest of the continent, and North America, where every auto plant was closed starting in the third week of March.
The Renault Nissan Mitsubishi alliance is expected to lose 25 percent of annual production, although financial troubles had already led to significantly lower output expectations for the group.
PSA Group, which is heavily tilted toward southern Europe, where lockdowns were also relatively early — and which has a negligible presence in China — may see a decline of 24 percent, LMC said.
The other two automakers likely to do worse than the industry average are Ford, at 23 percent, and Honda, at 22 percent. Ford’s factories are concentrated in North America and Europe, and Honda has a large manufacturing footprint in North America.
Major automakers expected to fare the best are China’s SAIC, which could lose 15 percent of production this year, in line with expectations for the Chinese industry overall; and GM, also losing 15 percent but with a heavy presence in China — and which is starting from a lower base because of an extended strike last year.
Hyundai, at 16 percent, is also expected to lose less than the industry average, because South Korea has been relatively untouched by the coronavirus. A large presence in China is expected to help minimize losses at BMW (down 18 percent), Volkswagen Group (down 18 percent) and Daimler (down 19 percent), LMC said.
Toyota is expected to fall by 20 percent, with closings in Europe and North America most likely offset by a later timetable for lockdown measures in Japan, its home country.