IHS Markit has revised its forecasts for global light vehicle sales and production as the impact COVID-19 impact has depressed demand even further than originally expected.
According to new analysis, global light vehicle sales are now forecast to be 69.6 million units this year in the wake of the pandemic, 22.0 percent lower than in 2019, with a risk of even further deterioration.
Similarly, it has reduced its global light vehicle production estimate to 69.3 million units, a 19.6-million-unit decline from 2019
The impact of COVID-19 on vehicle sales and production has outstripped the 2008-2009 recession, and significant uncertainty remains about prospects for a meaningful recovery.
“The pandemic remains a clear and present danger to the autos sector, with months of uncertainty expected to cloud hopes for global recovery prospects,” said Colin Couchman, executive director, global autos demand forecasting at IHS Markit. “The expected cycle of decline, stabilization and recovery for autos varies by market, reflecting variations in containment strategies and policy responsiveness” he said.
In recent weeks, Mainland China is seeing green shoots of recovery, while much of the rest of the world remains in lockdown. The IHS Markit forecast for Greater China sales in 2020 sees volume at 21.4 million units, a drop of 15 percent from 2019 levels. In 2021, volume could recover to 23.2 million units, based on current forecasts.
In Europe, COVID-19 lockdowns remain firmly in place for Italy, Spain, France and the UK, though show signs of easing in Germany. The forecast is for Europe to see sales fall 24.6 percent to 15.5 million units.
North America is forecast to see sales drop 26.7 percent year-on-year. The U.S. market sales forecast is 12.5 million units for the year, from 16.3 million in 2019.
In Japan, full-year 2020 production is now expected to decline by 20.4 percent year-on-year to 7.3 million units. In South Korea, full-year 2020 Korea production is forecast at 3.2 million units, declining by 16.7 percent relative to 2019.