BMW's Future Vision Luxury concept car is widely believed to be a preview of the 2016 BMW 9 Series, a new high-end sedan.
BMW's Future Vision Luxury concept car is widely believed to be a preview of the 2016 BMW 9 Series, a new high-end sedan.

BMW announced Wednesday a shutdown of its plants in Europe for four weeks, making it the last major German car manufacturer to be idled because of coronavirus outbreaks.

“Starting today, we are shutting down our European plants and the Rosslyn plant in South Africa. The interruption of production is expected to last until April 19,” said BMW CEO Oliver Zipse in Munich on Wednesday. BMW’s decision came just one day after Volkswagen and its subsidiary Audi, as well as Daimler, announced a halt of production due to the coronavirus crisis. The spread of the coronavirus was likely to have a significant impact on demand for cars in all major markets, BMW said. “In our case, production is following the forecast sales trend. We flexibly adjust our production volume to demand,” said Zipse. “Europe has become the epicenter of coronavirus. This is the biggest threat to the European car industry since World War II,” Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, a car expert at the Institute for Customer Insight (ICI-HSG), told Xinhua on Wednesday.

The crisis would not be limited to main individual markets, as was the case in 2009, but would be a “chain reaction of all core markets,” Dudenhoeffer added. “The map of the automotive industry will change dramatically,” he said. To ride out the crisis, Dudenhoeffer said, it would be important to learn from China’s experience.”If we in Europe had acted as resolutely as the Chinese government, we would have been in a better position. If Europe is as resolute in stimulating demand as China, we can overcome this crisis,” said Dudenhoeffer.

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