As the COVID-19 pandemic swiped across the world, automobile manufacturers were not immune to its negative effects. Thousands of employees at various vehicle assembly plants were sent home, bringing production to a complete holt for most, including BMW, VW…. (just list the makes). For the industry, this was disastrous because it meant all millions, more like billions, in projected revenues were lost as manufacturers sat waiting in despair. So it is no wonder that now, at the first sight of relief from the coronavirus pandemic, many automobile manufacturers are already reopening their production facilities and, of course, they are taking all the necessary precautions for the safety of their employees.
According to Aston Martin’s officials (Aston Martin Press Release), Staff at St. Athan factory lead the way on 5 of May, therefore the organization has developed extensive new safety measures to reduce COVID-19 risk. Aston Martin Lagonda has established comprehensive return-to-work rules to be followed by employees returning to their occupations at the brand’s manufacturing facility in St. Athan, Wales. Production workers at the company’s global headquarters in Gaydon, Warwickshire will follow at a later date.
As the Bavarian State Government has established lighter measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus, BMW Welt (BMW Press Release) reopened its vehicle collection service, salesrooms, and showrooms from 4 of May. Moreover, the company announced a limited number of visitors can get personal advice on new vehicles in the BMW Welt showrooms, as well as high-quality, BMW, and MINI branded products at the company’s shop. However, the BMW Museum, BMW Group Classic, and other restaurants will remain closed to the public until further notice.
COVID-19 pandemic requires society to pool all of its forces and contribute to ensure that the exponential progress of the virus flattens out. Therefore, Daimler (Daimler Press Release) decided to interrupt most of its manufacture as well as work in selected administrative areas. The aim was to protect employees, break up chains of infection, and prevent the further spread of the virus. However, as COVID-19 lockdown eases, Daimler has announced (Business and Human Rights Resource Center) that its plants in Hamburg, Berlin and Untertuerkheim will resume production at the beginning of May with production in a one-shift system.
Ferrari has announced on 8 of May (Ferrari Press Release), its factories in Maranello and Modena gradually return to full production, in line with the “Back on Track” program. The first car to come off the Special Series lines, after seven weeks in which the processing was suspended just a few hours before its completion, was a Ferrari Monza SP2 with a black and gray livery. In the following days, an 812 GTS spider in Grigio GTS and an F8 Tributo in Rosso Corsa were among the first cars completed in the 12 and 8 cylinder lines. The new Ferraris are ready to be delivered to their owners – in the USA, Australia, and Germany respectively – and to finally hit the road.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA Press Release) notified on 27 of April the company restarts production at Sevel plant with maximum attention to workplace health and safety. Different measures have been implemented at the Sevel Plant in Atessa, Italy – a joint venture with PSA Group and one of the leading producers of commercial vehicles for the international market – in preparation for return to work of most of the over 6,000 employees. Prior to the start of production, all Sevel employees were sent a link via WhatsApp and email to a webpage explaining measures to be taken in each production area, together with video tutorials.
On April 30 Ford (Ford Media Center) outlined its global health and safety protocols, sharing how best practices and input from around the world are helping to protect its workforce, dealers, customers, and suppliers and notified that the company is planning to restart the works in Europe on 4 of May. Concerning its operation in America, the company (Ford Media Center) announced they plan to restart phased production and operations in North America on 18 of May with enhanced safety protocols.
Honda (Automotive News Europe) has no announcement on plans resuming production at its factories.
Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama (HMMA Press Release) reported the company will take a measured approach to resume automobile production in Montgomery, Alabama, starting on May 4, 2020. It will transition to full production with one shift and add more shifts in the coming weeks.
Jaguar Land Rover
Jaguar Land Rover plans to gradually resume production from 18th May (Jaguar Land Rover Media), starting with manufacturing plants in Solihull in the UK as well as in Slovakia and Austria.
Kia has no official announcement (Kia Global Media Center).
Nissan reported (Nissan Press Release) the company will implement a temporary shutdown at some of its facilities in Japan from April 27 through May 1 to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
PSA Group announced (PSA Group Press Release) about the gradual and secured restart of production with a first wave of partial reopening of industrial activity between May 4 and 11 (from May 11 in France).
Renault has no official announcement yet (Renault Media)
Suzuki has no official announcement yet (Suzuki Global)
Toyota announced (Toyota Global) the company decided to extend the period of suspension of operations by 4 days (April 23 – April 28) from the time previously announced on April 15 for both the Takaoka Plant, production #2, and Toyota Industries Corp, lines 301 and 302. The end result will be a suspension for both plants for a total of 7 working days. As well as due to the effects of COVID-19 on the current market, Toyota intends to make gradual adjustments in production operations at all plants for completed vehicles in Japan, starting from May 1.
Volkswagen Group reported (Volkswagen Group Press Release) brand production operations gradually being restarted. The Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand resumed vehicle production at its Wolfsburg plant on May 5. Initially, Golf production recommenced on a one-shift basis — with reduced capacity and longer cycle times. Overall 8,000 employees returned to the production halls.
Volvo Cars (Volvo Cars Global Newsroom) restarted production at its Torslanda plant in Sweden on Monday (20 April), following a short period of downtime related to the coronavirus pandemic. The company notified also the plan to reopen its South Carolina plant in the United States on Monday 11 May.
For the car enthusiast and the average consumer, the reopening of vehicle manufacturing facilities is great news. The stop in production had limited the supply of available vehicles, especially for those who are particular about their options. However, many automobile manufacturers are giving very appealing incentives nowadays – reduced interest rates, credit towards payments, and lower money factors on leases. Thus, it might be just the ideal time to lease or purchase a new vehicle while sales numbers are low and dealerships are eager to make a deal.
Of course, if the vehicle you end up acquiring ends up being defective or you encounter a less than an honest salesman, we at The Margarian Law Firm are here to assist you. Call us at 818.553.1000 for a free consultation about your refund rights. Most importantly, stay safe and well.