With all the doom and gloom surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, businesses are bound to find it difficult to attract customers, and the numerous social distancing measures put in place around the world certainly isn’t helping matters.

But while most carmakers are only beginning to grapple with extended plant closures, over in China where signs of a recovery are starting to show, Geely appears to be optimistic that the outbreak will not have an enormous effect on its output.

Even with a significant short term impact on sales, the company is still confident of delivering a targeted 1.4 million vehicles in 2020, Geely Auto vice president Daniel Li told CNBC. “It’s 40,000 cars more than the year before,” he said.

The company is also ramping up production to meet 40,000 vehicle orders over the coming weeks, having stockpiled “good inventories of key components, batteries and raw materials” since the end of last year in preparation for a strong sales season. “In March, we have seen some good signals for recoveries from our dealer shop visits and also the orders we have received,” Li added.

This comes after Geely reported a 35% drop in profits to 8.19 billion yuan (RM5.05 billion) in 2019, as sales slid some 9.3% to 1.362 million vehicles. Li attributed this to “significant challenges” in the Chinese market, exacerbated by the pandemic at the end of the financial year. Despite the reduced profits, the company increased dividend payouts from 22% to 27%.

Geely has a big year ahead, with a number of new product launches that include the Icon and Haoyue SUVs and the production version of the Preface concept, alongside facelifted models, the Geometry C electric hatch and the Lynk & Co 05 and 06. The company will also reveal its first vehicle built on its new pure electric modular architecture (PMA), while Lynk & Co is due to kick off European sales in the second half.