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Automakers look to the end of COVID-19 shutdowns

Car companies are already looking to when they'll be able to ramp up production, after lengthy shutdowns related to COVID-19.

5 months ago
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William Stopford
Journalist

We’re all gripped with uncertainty about when the Coronavirus crisis will be over and when our lives will go back to normal.

Automakers are grappling with this too, as their factories sit idle or, in some cases, switch to manufacturing essential medical equipment.

Some manufacturers have already announced when things will hopefully return to normal at their factories, even as some world leaders and medical experts tell us to prepare for a long road ahead.

Aston Martin

The British sports car manufacturer announced on March 24 it was suspending all production until April 20, though it said it would review the situation and “will look to resume operations as soon as it is reasonable to do so”.

BMW

BMW announced on March 18 it was suspending all European and South African production until April 19.

Later, the company announced it would also suspend production of its SUV range in South Carolina from April 3 until April 19, therefore temporarily halting manufacture of all BMW cars exported to Australia.

Ferrari

The company announced last Friday it plans to resume production at its Maranello and Modena factories from April 14.

When Ferrari first announced it was suspending production on March 14, it initially said both factories would remain inactive for only two weeks.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

FCA announced on March 18 it was suspending all production in North America through March 27, following a similar announcement about European production two days prior.

Automakers look to the end of COVID-19 shutdowns

Ford

Ford has announced it will resume production at some of its North American plants on April 6 and April 14. The shutdown was originally supposed to end on March 30.

However, the company hasn’t yet announced when Mustang production will resume in Flat Rock, Michigan or when Enduras will start rolling off the line again in Oakville, Ontario.

Earlier in March, Ford announced it was suspending production at its German and Turkish plants, which produce the Fiesta, Focus, Transit and Transit Custom, for an unspecified time. It has yet to announce when production will resume.

Last week, Ford also announced it’d suspend production at the Thai plant that produces the Ranger and Everest. Production stopped on March 27 but it’s not yet known when it’ll resume.

Honda

Honda announced on March 27 it was suspending production at its Thai factories until April 30. The company manufactures all of its local range there except for the Civic Type R, Odyssey and NSX.

The Civic Type R had its production halted until April 6 due to the temporary closure of Honda’s Swindon plant in England. The plant is set to shut down permanently next year.

Automakers look to the end of COVID-19 shutdowns

Jaguar Land Rover

On March 20, Jaguar Land Rover announced it was suspending production at all its UK manufacturing facilities.

The company said it intended to resume production during the week of April 20 unless circumstances change.

Automakers look to the end of COVID-19 shutdowns

Mazda

Mazda announced last week it plans to throttle production at its Hiroshima and Hofu plants in Japan from March 28 until April 30.

Production will be suspended for 13 days and operate at daytime only for the remainder of the suspension period.

The Hofu plant produces the Mazda 2, Mazda 3, Mazda 6, CX-3 and CX-5, while Mazda manufactures the MX-5, CX-30, CX-8 and CX-9 at Hiroshima.

Mazda will also suspend production at its Thai plant for 10 days, starting March 30. The BT-50 is produced there.

McLaren

The British sports car manufacturer announced on March 24 it was immediately suspending production until “the end of April”.

Automakers look to the end of COVID-19 shutdowns

Mercedes-Benz

The German giant announced on March 17 it was suspending all European production for an initial period of two weeks.

The following week, it announced production at its US factories –including the Tuscaloosa, Alabama plant that produces the GLE and GLS SUVs – would also be suspended for at least two weeks.

According to Bloomberg, the Alabama plant was already dealing with parts shortages. The two SUVs use engines and transmissions imported from Europe.

It appears to be business as usual at the Mercedes-Benz factory in South Africa, with no shutdown planned.

Automakers look to the end of COVID-19 shutdowns

Nissan

Nissan announced on March 27 it was reducing the number of days and shifts at its Oppama, Tochigi and Kyushu plants in Japan over the next couple of months.

These plants produce the Patrol, X-Trail, 370Z and GT-R.

The company announced on March 18 its US factories would be suspended from March 20 until April 6, affecting production of the Pathfinder.

Production of the Australian-market Leaf and Qashqai has also been paused. BBC reports vehicle production has been suspended indefinitely at Nissan’s Sunderland plant in the UK and the factory may produce ventilators there. Nissan also manufactures the Juke there.

Automakers look to the end of COVID-19 shutdowns

PSA Peugeot Citroen

PSA closed all its European factories between March 16 and March 19, announcing it planned to resume vehicle production from March 27.

The company then announced it was planning the “safe and gradual” return to work for its employees, despite PSA’s homeland extending its lockdown.

PSA is implementing measures in its factories to help curb the virus, such as taking employees’ temperatures and lengthening breaks to ensure workers wash their hands.

Renault

The French automaker announced on March 16 it would suspend all European production until further notice. This affects the production of all Renault models sold here except for the Koleos, which is imported from South Korea.

The company hasn’t provided a date for when production will resume in Europe.

Automakers look to the end of COVID-19 shutdowns

Rolls-Royce

All Rolls-Royce production at Goodwood was suspended on March 23 for two weeks. This will then be followed by a previously-scheduled two-week shutdown for maintenance.

SAIC Motor

It’s back to business as usual in China. According to Automotive News, the company has already resumed production at all its Chinese plants, including those that manufacture LDV and MG products for Australian consumption.

Suzuki

The Indian plant that produces the Baleno was closed on March 22 until further notice.

Suzuki will suspend operations at its Japanese factories from April 1 until April 6 and then evaluate whether it’s safe to resume production.

Automakers look to the end of COVID-19 shutdowns

Toyota

The company will suspend production at five of its Japanese plants for between three and nine operating days, with plants to resume regular operation by April 15.

The closures include the Takoaka, Tahara and Tsutsumi plants that produce the Corolla, Camry, RAV4, and LandCruiser Prado.

The Princeton, Indiana plant that produces the Kluger has also been temporarily closed. The closure was extended and now the plant is due to reopen on April 20.

Automakers look to the end of COVID-19 shutdowns

Volkswagen Group

All brands under the Volkswagen Group umbrella have had production suspended, including:

  • Volkswagen, which has extended its suspension to April 9.
  • Bugatti, which suspended production on March 20 and hasn’t announced when it’ll resume.
  • Skoda, which suspended production on March 18 for at least two weeks. It’ll pay its workers 70-75 per cent of their wages during the shutdown period.
  • Porsche suspended production on March 21, also for an initial two-week period.
  • Lamborghini suspended production from March 13 until March 25.
  • Bentley has halted production at its Crewe factory for four weeks, starting March 20.

According to Reuters, the Puebla, Mexico plant which produces the Audi Q5 will be shut from March 23 until April 13 as it’s been affected by parts shortages.

Automakers look to the end of COVID-19 shutdowns

Volvo

The company resumed production at its Chinese factories earlier this month. Currently, the only Volvo we receive from China is the XC60.

Production at Volvo’s other factories remains suspended. Its Belgium plant, where the XC40 is produced, is set to re-open on April 5.

Volvo’s plants in Sweden and the US are closed from March 26 until April 14. Our S60 comes from the US while the XC90 and V90 are exported from Sweden.


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