Hyundai sales fell to its lowest level in ten years in February, due to the growing concern about the Coronavirus, which appears to have scared customers, and this is the first major indication of the damage to the auto manufacturing sector due to this epidemic.
As South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor was the first major car company to announce its sales for this month, it is expected that US and Chinese companies will disclose their sales reports in the coming weeks.
In the initial report issued by Hyundai, it stated that its sales amounted to 275,044 cars for the month of February, which represents a decrease of 13% compared to sales of last year, while local sales decreased by 26%, and this is the lowest monthly sales announced by the company since February 2010.
On the other hand, Kia Corporation – a subsidiary of Hyundai Group – announced that its global sales decreased by 5%.
In fact, Korean car companies have been suffering from low demand for their cars since tax increases on passenger cars in South Korea at the beginning of this year 2020, but the spread of Coronavirus has made it even more difficult, according to experts.
“People are afraid because of the coronavirus and no one is going out … dealership traffic itself is almost zero,” said Esther Yim, an analyst at Samsung Securities.
“Since people don’t tend to place orders for cars that they have not seen over the phone until the virus dies down somewhat, domestic sales will continue to be affected.”
The Korean analyst also pointed out that demand is low in China, which is the largest market for cars in the world, the place where the virus originated.
“In China, I believe around 80 percent of Hyundai dealerships did not operate in February. China is not completely free from travel restrictions yet, so it’s going to be bad until April.”
It is worth noting that China is one of Hyundai’s most important global markets.