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Auto Industry’s Virus Fears Shifting From Supply to Demand

  • LMC cuts 2020 U.S. sales forecast by 300,000 to 16.5 million
  • Some key auto-parts makers already have lowered profit outlook
American flags fly at at a car dealership.
American flags fly at at a car dealership.Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg
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Automakers and suppliers across the globe have been scrambling to keep production going after the coronavirus shuttered parts plants across China. Now a bigger fear is emerging: Consumers may be in no mood to buy cars and trucks.

With more than 100,000 cases worldwide and new ones cropping up daily in American cities, analysts are paring back expectations for another year of near-17 million sales in the U.S. LMC Automotive cut its 2020 estimate by 300,000 units to 16.5 million, which would be the lowest for the industry since 2014. Worldwide, the researcher docked 3.5 million units from its forecast, more than half of which is attributed to China.