| 5:10 PM EST

China's Auto Industry Still in "Park"

Auto production remains stalled by coronavirus epidemic
#asia #Chrysler #Fiat

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Still not much action among carmakers in China as the coronavirus crisis continues.

A few companies were able to reopen at least some assembly plants last week. But none are operating anywhere near normal capacity.

Half-Speed at Toyota

Toyota, with no plants in Hubei Province where the outbreak began, was able to open three of its four Chinese factories last week. The fourth facility went back on line today.

But The Nikkei says all four Toyota plants are running at half their normal pace. The company also is monitoring its supply chains closely.

Volkswagen, the largest among foreign carmakers in China, was to resume assembly operations with partner SAIC Motor today. Mitsubishi Motors won’t reopen facilities until at least Feb. 27.

No Government Go-Ahead

The Hubei government has ordered businesses within its territory not to resume production before March 11. The directive affects facilities in and around Wuhan operated by General Motors, Honda, Nissan, PSA and Renault.

Elsewhere across China, regional governments aren’t ready to declare an all-clear. 

Nissan scrapped plans to revive production last week and hasn’t announced a new startup date. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has reopened a plant in Guangzhou but not in Changsha.

For most companies, production plans are being hindered by parts shortages, high absenteeism, local quarantines and travel restrictions that hamper travel by workers and truckers, especially those who must cross provincial boundaries.

Shoppers Focus Elsewhere

Another damper on production: Consumers buffeted by quarantines are preoccupied with more fundamental issues than finding a car to buy.

China’s auto dealers association had expected a 1% uptick in deliveries this year. But a new projection by LMC Automotive says full-year demand will probably shrink 3%-5%.

Several carmakers have cautioned that another two weeks of disruption among partsmakers in China will begin to impact assembly plants everywhere.

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