COVID-19 causes global auto industry running rate to dip to new low

Analysis carried out by GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, shows that the global light vehicle market hit a seasonally adjusted annual running rate (SAAR) of just 54 million units in March, which compares with almost 90 million light vehicles sold globally in 2019.

David Leggett, Automotive Editor at GlobalData, comments: “The decline in trend in the first quarter of the year is sharp and stark. The 54 million units SAAR figure for March compares with a SAAR of 67 million units in February and just under 80 million units in January.

“The trend is heading down and we expect to see April – a month in which many vehicle markets were seized up by COVID-19 response population lockdowns – to see a further deterioration to trend.”

GlobalData believes the hit to the global market this year will be much greater than in the 2007/8 financial crisis, when growing emerging markets such as China helped to provide support. The company’s base COVID-19 global light vehicle sales scenario forecasts a fall of 16% on 2019 to 75 million.

Leggett continues: “With most automotive plants in Europe and North America closed until the end of April, some 4.1 million light vehicles will have been removed from production. We estimate a revenue loss of $131.1 billion to the vehicle manufacturers alone.

“The COVID-19 crisis is clearly exacting a heavy toll on the global auto industry right through the value chain, from retailers to vehicle manufacturers and parts suppliers.”

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