Coronavirus spread to shrink India’s auto production by 8.3% in 2020: Fitch

China is one of India’s largest supplier of automotive components, a slowdown in the supply of China-made components will lead to shortages in India

Vehicle production in India is expected to shrink by 8.3% in 2020, as the auto industry faces increasing risk of supply shortage due to the coronavirus outbreak in China, possibly hitting domestic output if the virus spreads, said rating agency Fitch Solutions on Wednesday.

In China, where the virus originated, automotive manufacturers have halted production in order to limit the congregation of people and reduce the exposure of its population to possible infection and “we see India adopting similar policies if the virus spreads throughout the country,” it said.

Given that India’s health care system is ill-equipped to deal with a large scale epidemic, the rating agency said “the impact on Indian autos will be much larger because the virus will likely spread much faster in the country when compared to China.”

Furthermore, because China is one of India’s largest supplier of automotive components, a slowdown in the supply of China-made components will lead to shortages in India and could force auto makers to slow or stop production.

As a result, we forecast vehicle production in India will contract by 8.3% for 2020, following an estimated contraction of 13.2% in 2019.

The agency said that it believes that the weak domestic demand for new vehicles will see India’s vehicle production continue to contract in 2020.

“China supplies India with between 10-30% of its automotive components, and this could be two to three times higher when looking at India’s EV segment, which highlights just how exposed India’s automotive manufacturing industry is to the slowdown of vehicle Chinese component manufacturing,” it said.

Fitch also believes that the protectionist policies presented in the country’s 2020 Budget with regards to electric vehicles will offer some upside potential for local EV production, but it will be accompanied by increased trade risk.

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