Volkswagen is carmaker most exposed to virus impact, S&P says
The world’s largest automaker is also the manufacturer most-exposed to the coronavirus outbreak in China, according to Standard & Poors.
Volkswagen AG produces and sells almost 40% of its cars in China, and while its main plants are outside of the epicenter in Hubei province, they’re likely to be closed for extended periods by government restrictions aimed at combating the disease, S&P said in the report issued Wednesday.
At risk are about 3 billion euros ($3.3 billion) in dividends that Volkswagen’s Chinese joint ventures pay to their German parent, according to the report from S&P analysts led by Vittoria Ferraris. The virus forced S&P to rip up its forecast for a recovery of the Chinese market after two down years. Sales in the world’s biggest automotive market are no longer expected to meet the analysts’ base case for 1-2% growth in 2020.
Supply chains are also at risk, S&P said, with Robert Bosch Gmbh, the largest automotive supplier, expected to be “hard hit.” Most Bosch sites “are preparing to resume production in the next days,” the German company said earlier this week. “We constantly evaluate the situation.”
Nissan Motor Co. was singled out for having relatively high risk “considering its high exposure and recently weak performance,” S&P said. Honda Motor Co. has a production base in the outbreak city of Wuhan and relies on China for 30% of sales and output, the analysts said.