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BMW Group will be shutting down its production plants near the end of March:

"BMW said it is preparing to suspend production at its plants in Europe and Rosslyn, South Africa, until April 19, responding to lower demand and as a way to help reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

The plant shutdowns will start at the end of the week.

"We take our responsibility seriously, both when it comes to ensuring the protection and health of our employees and to achieving the best possible balance in terms of profitability," CEO Oliver Zipse said in a statement on Wednesday.

The automaker is also closing dealerships in Europe as demand for new cars falls, Zipse said.

BMW abandoned hopes for another record vehicle sales year due to the coronavirus, predicting deliveries will be "significantly below" 2019 levels and profitability the weakest in years.

BMW's Rolls-Royce and Mini brands said they will stop production at their plants in the UK."

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