Recently, we talked about how China’s auto sales are starting to show signs of recovery as automakers resume production in the area amid the COVID-19 crisis. Now, we are seeing automakers reopen their production facilities in Europe too as Auto News reports.
Hyundai and Kia Lead the Way
Korean brands Hyundai and Kia were among the first to resume operations at their facilities in Europe at the beginning of April. Hyundai had only just begun production of the Kona Electric EV at its plant in Nošovice, a village in the Czech Republic. Still, Hyundai was still able to complete its first round of deliveries from the Nošovice assembly line. This facility is also where the Tuscon compact SUV and the i30 compact lineup is built.
At the same time, Kia resumed production at its facility in Zilina, Slovakia. Kia’s Slovakia plant is where the Ceed compact car and Sportage compact crossover are assembled.
Volvo, Toyota, Volkswagen, and Renault Reopen Their Facilities As Well
Volvo recently reopened production at its headquarters in Sweden after a very temporary closure. Volvo was actually among the last of the carmakers to close in the area related to COVID-19. Sweden is where the carmaker assembles its XC60 and XC90 SUVs as well as the V90 station wagon. Volvo produces the V60 station wagon and XC40 SUV at its plant in Ghent, Belgium. The carmaker is currently working at a much slower pace than they were before.
In Germany, Volkswagen has resumed the building of its highly-anticipated ID3 EV for its European market. VW Group’s other subsidiaries will restart production at its shared plant in Slovakia later this week.
Toyota is back to building its new Yaris hatchback in addition to the brand-new tiny Yaris Cross SUV at its plant in Valenciennes, France, The carmaker says they typically produce 1,000 vehicles a day, but for now, will start out with making 50 vehicles a day as customer demand picks up.
Other major brands FCA and PSA Group have not fully confirmed their plans on resuming production.
European Auto Sales Forecasts
It’s no surprise that European auto sales plummeted in the second half of March as coronavirus cases surged and carmakers stopped production. Auto sales in Europe were expected to fall in April by 60% which is in relation to the pandemic.
According to the European Auto Industry Association, new car authorizations fell by over 50%. This is based on the vehicles in the European Free Trade Association countries and those in the European Union, and Britain.
Correspondingly, the countries with the largest coronavirus outbreaks saw the biggest drops in auto sales. There was an 85.4% drop in new car registrations in Italy, a 72.2% drop in France, a 69.3% decrease in Spain, and a 37.7% drop in Germany.
London-based global information company IHS Markit expects worldwide auto sales to decline by 22% for the year. In Europe particularly, IHS expects that there will be varied opportunities for recovery that will largely be based on regional guidance and restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic.