As the threat of COVID-19 continues to loom ahead, automakers around the world are implementing a series of plant closures. These extreme measures were implemented as a means to curb the spread of the disease, but there are also instances when the plant closures are due to supplier constraints, which is likewise linked to COVID-19.
If you think that low volume ultra-luxury automakers are immune to the plant closures, then you are wrong. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars announced today that production at the company’s Goodwood-based manufacturing plant will be suspended from Monday 23 March for two weeks. In order to further secure the health and welfare of the employees of the company, this suspension will be followed by an already-planned two-week Easter maintenance shutdown.
This unprecedented action has been taken following the introduction of additional measures by the UK Government to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.
Not only Rolls-Royce, but Lamborghini and Ferrari have also announced plant closures, especially since these two Italian supercar manufacturers are right at the hotspot of a COVID-19 spread happening across Italy. Ferrari says the shut down is in effect until March 27 while Lamborghini says they plan to restart production by March 25.
Apart from these low volume brands, mainstream automakers with a manufacturing presence in the United States such as Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Subaru, Ford, General Motors, Volkswagen, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles have closed their plants in a bid to stop the spread of the disease. Unfortunately for South Korean automaker Hyundai, the company closed its Alabama plant on March 18 due to an employee testing positive for the disease. Hyundai says that the worker had not been on the job recently, but the company still decided to close its manufacturing facility in order to conduct additional sanitation measures. Since then, Hyundai has not yet announced when the plant will restart production.
In Europe, Volkswagen, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, PSA Group (Peugeot, Citroen, DS, Opel, and Vauxhall), and Renault have also announced plant closures as well in order to stop the spread of the disease. Daimler, Mercedes-Benz’s parent company, says that its plant closures are due to its bid to protect its workers as well as global supply chains that are unable to operate at full capacity. Toyota’s European plants in Portugal and France have also been shut according to Automotive News.
In the Philippines, Toyota has closed down its Sta. Rosa, Laguna plant beginning from March 17, in support of the government’s enhanced community quarantine efforts in Luzon. Toyota produces the Vios and Innova in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.
So far, no plant closures have been announced in Thailand, which is Southeast Asia’s automotive manufacturing hub.
With the COVID-19’s effects being felt across all economies and markets around the world, expect more automotive plant closures in the coming weeks or months. Automobile manufacturers are doing their best to strike a balance between maintaining their business whilst protecting the health and safety of their workers.