VW, Toyota idle plants amid COVID-19 outbreaks

Toyota builds four models in Tianjin, which are all sedans — the Corolla, Izola, Vios and Allion. 

Great Wall Motor Co., the largest domestic Chinese light-truck maker, also has a major plant in Tianjin.

China, which has stuck to what is effectively a “zero-COVID” policy, is scrambling to prevent the spread of the highly infectious Omicron variant ahead of the Lunar New Year travel season later this month – and as Beijing prepares to stage the Winter Olympics beginning Feb. 4.

Tianjin, in northern China around 100 km (62 miles) from the capital Beijing, reported 41 domestically transmitted infections with confirmed symptoms on Wednesday, up from 33 a day earlier, data from the National Health Commission showed on Thursday.

The VW Group assembly plant builds the Audi Q3 crossover alongside VW models for the local market, according to a company website.

China is likely to see ramped-up restrictions to contain Omicron, Goldman Sachs analysts said in a note revising down their 2022 growth forecast to 4.3 percent from 4.8 percent previously, citing economic costs from the potentially intensified measures.

Analysts at Morgan Stanley also said they saw downside risk to their first-quarter growth forecast for the world’s second largest economy this year, as Omicron could “imply more costs than benefits under China‘s COVID-zero strategy”.

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