London – With factories and dealerships closed by the coronavirus crisis, European automotive sales could fall by up to 14% this year, according to consulting firm IHS Markit.
"The global auto industry is expected to witness an unprecedented and almost instant stalling of demand in 2020," said IHS Markit 25 March, downgrading its forecasts across "virtually all regions."
The firm called the coronavirus pandemic "the single biggest risk factor facing the auto industry for many years."
Global sales will fall by more than 12% this year to 78.8 million units, IHS forecasts, a downgrade of 10 million units from the company’s January forecast.
In comparison, the two-year "peak to trough" decline during the global recession in 2008-2009 was 8%.
Near-term global sales are forecast to fall sharply, followed by a slow recovery.
The company has downgraded its 2020 forecast for Europe (western and central Europe) by 1.9 million units, to 15.6 million, a decline of 13.6% compared to 2019.
The region "faces months of rolling disruption as the conjoined health and economic crises play out across economies," IHS said.
US auto sales are forecast to be 14.4 million this year, a 15% decline, and 2.4 million units fewer than prior forecasts.