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Coronavirus hits VW sales, slump by almost a quarter affects Ghana plant launch

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The dwindling demand for cars and the massive production bottlenecks caused by the coronavirus crisis has hit German automotive giant Volkswagen hard in the first quarter.

VW which has announced a car assembly plant in Ghana was scheduled to start operations in the country March 18, 2020, but that doesn’t look possible. Ghana first announced the first two confirmed cases of the virus infection in the country March 12, since then as of April 17, the country has 641 confirmed cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Parts of the country have been placed on lockdown and business activities slowed.

The world’s largest car manufacturer said on Friday that it delivered 23 per cent fewer cars to its customers than in the same quarter last year, down to about two million vehicles, according to the DPA, the official German news agency.

The decline was particularly pronounced last month, with deliveries of new cars falling by 37.6 per cent compared to March 2019.

Like many other carmakers around the world, VW had to stop work at its plants and dealerships because of coronavirus infection risks and disrupted supply chains.

VW announced on Thursday that it would not meet its 2020 forecasts, after the group estimated that its turnover will fall to €55 billion ($59.5 billion) in the first quarter, down from €60 billion a year earlier.

The group plans to start gradually resuming production next week, with new protective measures in place for its employees. In China, almost all of its factories are online again.

Porsche on Friday also reported a fall in its sales figures, but not as large as was feared. The German luxury carmaker delivered around 53,000 cars to customers around the world from January to March, 5 per cent less than in the first quarter of 2018.

Chief executive Oliver Blume had previously expected a decline as high as 10 per cent.

The largest slumps were seen in China and the United States, at 17 and 20 per cent respectively.

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