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January 30, 2020 4:00 PM, EST

China’s Auto Production to Drop 15% Because of Virus, Supplier Aptiv Says

An employee uses a forklift to transport vehicle panels in a Chinese automobile plant in 2018.An employee uses a forklift to transport vehicle panels in a Chinese automobile plant in 2018. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg News)

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Automakers probably will dial back production by 15% in China this quarter after extending holiday shutdowns due to the potentially deadly coronavirus, a top supplier said.

Aptiv, which makes safety and electrification systems for customers including Volkswagen AG and General Motors Co., issued the projection along with quarterly earnings results Jan. 30. The company expects its own production to be down 11% from a year ago.

“It’s a fairly fluid situation, as you might imagine,” Chief Financial Officer Joseph Massaro told analysts on the earnings call. He said the effect the virus has on the industry will depend on “the dislocation of labor that went home for the holidays, and how quickly they can all come back — either from a practical perspective or from a government-mandate perspective.”

With a market capitalization of about $22.2 billion, Aptiv is the most valuable U.S.-listed auto supplier, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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