NEW YORK, March 27 — Credit ratings agency Moody’s Investor Service today sharply cut its 2020 outlook for global auto sales, with Western Europe expected to take the biggest hit as the coronavirus outbreak worsens outside of China.
The agency said it now expects global auto sales to fall 14 per cent in 2020, much more than its previous estimate of about 2.5 per cent drop in February.
The credit rating agency now expects auto sales in Western Europe to see the steepest drop-off in demand — at 21 per cent this year, sharply weaker than its previous forecast of a four per cent decline.
In China, the world’s largest market, auto unit sales are expected to fall 10 per cent, a steeper decline than the previous projection of a 2.9 per cent drop.
In the US, the agency expects light vehicle sales to fall at least 15 per cent in 2020, weakening from its previous forecast of a 1.2 per cent decline.
The number of US coronavirus infections climbed above 82,000 yesterday, surpassing the national tallies of China and Italy.
Auto sales in China plunged 79.1 per cent in February, marking their biggest ever monthly decline, as the outbreak hit demand, data from the country’s largest auto industry association showed earlier this month.
The pandemic, which has killed more than 22,000 people globally, has forced the shutdown of auto plants around the world as entire cities have gone into lockdown to stem the spread of the virus. — Reuters