STOCKHOLM -- Autoliv, the world's largest maker of airbags and seat belts, said it was facing "unprecedented" challenges in the second quarter after North American and European markets ground to a halt in April due to the pandemic.
Sales in Europe fell 89 percent in April from a year earlier and plunged 96 percent in the Americas region as factories were shut, Autoliv said on Friday. In China, sales rose 3 percent.
Autoliv said that though car production had recently started to resume across North America and Europe, the industry was still facing significant hurdles, with supply chain issues remaining an area of concern.
"The ramp-up has started on a very low level and is characterized by strong fluctuations in customer demand," the company said in a statement.
"With our largest markets Americas and Europe virtually standing still in April, the challenges we are managing in the second quarter are unprecedented," Autoliv CEO Mikael Bratt said in the statement.
Autoliv said it had cut its workforce "meaningfully" in April and expected further cuts in May and June, without giving details.
As of March 31, its total headcount had decreased by 1,400 from a year earlier to about 65,000, according to the company's first quarter report. Total headcount includes both permanent staff and temporary employees.
Autoliv noted that data firm IHS forecasts a near 50 percent decline in global light vehicle production in the second quarter from a year earlier.
The company said it had continued to reduce costs to weather the crisis and had moved to further strengthen its liquidity by securing a lending facility of around 6 billion crowns ($632 million) with the Swedish Export Credit Corporation.