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Slow Auto Recovery Is Forecast

Bill Koenig
By Bill Koenig Senior Editor, SME Media

The global auto industry will experience a slow recovery in 2021 from the COVID-19 pandemic, analysts at IHS Markit said today.

"We’re recovering off the bottom," Colin Couchman, an IHS Markit analyst said. That bottom, he said, was April 2020.

“Some economies managed to get to grips and are now close to being COVID secure,” he added referring to China. “Elsewhere lockdowns have been used but really haven’t controlled it,” he added, referring to Europe.

In addition to those regions, the United States is enduring a second COVID-19 wave, with widespread outbreaks across the country.

“For some economies, the strategy appears to be to wait for the vaccine,” Couchman said.

A vaccine for the virus developed by Pfizer has received approval in major countries. The first doses in the U.S. were administered this week. Other vaccines are in the pipeline for approval.

“The general opinion we’re starting to see more of a brighter light at the end of the tunnel,” Couchman said.

In North America, auto plants were shutdown starting in March to try to slow the spread of the virus. Factories reopened in May with new safety procedures in place. Overall, the auto industry has recovered better than other industries, including aerospace.

Nevertheless, IHS Markit said many markets, including North America, will finish with lower vehicle sales this year. Gains are likely in 2021 from those depressed levels, according to IHS Markit forecasts.

Globally, the forecasting company expects the global number of vehicles build will remain below 2019 levels until 2023.

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