International rating agency Moody's lowered its auto sales forecast on Friday as the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak continues to worsen.
"We now expect global auto unit sales to plunge about 14% in 2020, a far steeper drop than the 2.5% decline we had projected in February, mostly because of a sharp coronavirus-related drop-off in consumer demand," said Falk Frey, a Moody's senior vice president.
The sales are expected to rebound next year, depending on how soon the outbreak peaks in key markets and how quickly consumer sentiment recovers, the Moody's noted.
The agency projected that Western Europe will see the steepest slide in demand with auto unit sales by 21% this year, sharply weaker than its previous forecast of a 4% decline.
Auto sales in China will sink by 10%, Moody's forecast, much lower than the previous projection of a 2.9% drop.
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