A prolonged outbreak of the coronavirus that has forced automakers to extend plant shutdowns could reduce first-quarter light-vehicle output in China by 1.7 million, or 32 percent, IHS Markit said.
If the outbreak forces automakers to idle plants through mid-March, the potential impact of the virus on output would be on top of a 10 percent decline in first-quarter production IHS predicted before the crisis, the consultancy noted.
The forecast was made after Chinese provinces and municipalities extended the country’s Lunar New Year holiday by a week to help contain the spread of the virus.
As of Friday, 11 of 31 Chinese provinces and many municipalities, most of which are in coastal and central China, had decided to prolong the holiday by an extra week, to Sunday, Feb. 9.
The 11 provinces and municipalities account for more than two-thirds of vehicle production in China, according to IHS Markit.
The country’s remaining 20 provinces extended the holiday by three days to Sunday, Feb. 2.
The epidemic, which started in December, has spread across China, infecting 17,205 people and killing 361 in the country as of Sunday, according to the latest figures released by government authorities.