Hyundai Motor posted its lowest month-to-month global sales in a decade in February as the coronavirus pandemic contracted demand, in what is the first major sign of damage to the broader auto industry from the epidemic.
It turned in a preliminary sales figure of 275,044 autos for the month, 13% below 315,820 automobiles bought a year ago. Hyundai last reported sales lower than this in February 2010.
South Korea’s Hyundai, which with the sister firm Kia Motors, is the world’s #5 car manufacturer, is the first major automaker to declare sales for the month. Chinese and U.S. players will reveal their numbers in the coming weeks.
The flu-like coronavirus, which stemmed in China, has killed almost 3,000 and roiled global financial markets as investors and policymakers prepare for a steep knock to world growth.
South Korea has the most cases of infections outside the mainland, with the total at 4,212, affecting firms like Samsung Electronics and Hyundai.
Hyundai was the first auto manufacturer to flag a blow to its manufacturing outside China when it halted production at home, its largest manufacturing base, in February resulting from a shortage of components from China.
While the auto manufacturer has steadily resumed production, virus-related ambiguities stay. Last week, a worker at its manufacturing facility in the southeastern South Korean city of Ulsan diagnosed for the virus, triggering it to shut a factory.
The manufacturing unit, which makes popular models such as the Palisade sport-utility vehicle, resumed manufacturing Monday, a Hyundai spokesperson stated.
South Korean coronavirus cases are concentrated in the fourth-largest city of Daegu and the North Gyeongsang province, home to nearly 20% of auto components suppliers in the nation.