BMW sees drop in sales after first quarter due to coronavirus

by SpeedLux
A new BMW car

BMW is expecting a further drop in global demand as the coronavirus outbreak takes its toll, a spokesman stated on Monday, after the German automaker reported a 20.6% decline in first quarter sales to 477,111 vehicles.

BMW stated it had seen sales increase at the start of the year. Since then, the pandemic has pushed some companies, including automakers, to stop production at some sites and many governments in the world have introduced lockdown measures in a bid to reduce the spread of the virus.

“By February, the impact of the pandemic had already led to a major decline in sales in China. By March, the effects of the pandemic were clearly visible in sales figures in Europe and the U.S,” BMW stated.

BMW sales to China, where the outbreak started, were reduced 30.9% in the January to March period. They declined by 18.3% in Europe and declined by 17.4% in the United States.

A production stoppage at BMW’s plants is being extended by two weeks until April 30, a spokesman stated, adding the time was being used to make modifications to the factories – a task that is keeping several thousand workers busy.

BMW is responding to an expected further decline in demand by planning ahead and adjusting production, a spokesman stated.

He added that while fundamental demand still exists, the closure of retail outlets meant customers were not ordering and getting vehicles like they do normally so it would take longer for markets to make a recovery.

BMW stated that about 80% of retail outlets in Europe and 70% in the United States were temporarily closed because of the pandemic.

Shares in BMW increased 5.7% at 1023 GMT, as Europe’s stock markets rebounded on hopes the area might be getting to grips with the health crisis.

Export expectations in Germany’s auto sector have dropped to their lowest level since March 2009, when Europe’s largest economy was struggling because of the global financial crisis, Germany’s Ifo institute stated.

About 1,441,128 people in the world have been confirmed as being infected with the coronavirus. The virus has killed 82,992 people in the country.

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