COVID-19 headlines

Auto-related coronavirus news from around the Web.

Used car sales: Used-car auctions, at least in the U.S., are now virtually paralyzed, the Los Angeles Times reports. The fear is that if prices fall sharply, it will hurt automakers and their in-house lending units, which probably will have to write down the value of lease contracts that assumed vehicles would retain greater value. Rental-car companies also will get less money from selling down their fleet of vehicles, which are idled by travel restrictions.

Ventilator plan: A UK plan to buy thousands of medical ventilators from a group including the Renault and Red Bull Formula One teams has been canceled amid signs that symptoms specific to COVID-19 could make building new devices more difficult than hoped, The Guardian reports.

Citroen museum: For car fans confined to their homes during the coronavirus crisis, Citroen has expanded its online museum, Citroen Origins, with a podcast and other multimedia offerings.

Masks and sanitizer: BASF, a supplier of automotive coatings, will donate 100 million protective masks to the German government, and 1 million masks to the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, where the company is based. Separately, BASF says it has retooled several manufacturing sites in Germany to produce up to 1 million liters of hand sanitizer.

  • Axalta, another automotive coatings supplier, is producing thousands of liters of hand sanitizer at plants in Europe and the U.S. It is donating protective gear such as masks, gloves, gowns and even car-seat covers to health workers in the U.S., France, Belgium, and Germany.

India sales: Passenger-car sales fell by 51 percent in March in India, and sales of commercial vehicles by 88 percent, in a market already struggling with sluggish growth since November 2018. Production has been halted for about three weeks. The head of industry group SIAM warned of problems ahead: “As the revenues took severe hit, the OEMs struggled on meeting fixed cost and working capital requirements.”

Toyota in Brazil: Toyota said Tuesday that its plants in Brazil would be closed until June 22, Reuters reported. General Motors said it would extend a shutdown at its factories in the country for at least 60 more days. It is also proposing salary cuts of up to 25 percent, according to the news agency.

Font: Automotive News Europe

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