European Ford, Toyota, BMW Plants Go Dark
The European marketplace is shutting down, and with it the manufacturing base of many automakers. Ford, Toyota, and BMW have now announced temporary suspensions of production at plants across the continent — a measure that’s starting to be seen in North America.
Stuart Rowley, president of Ford of Europe, called the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on employees, dealers, and customers “unprecedented.” The supply chain is growing increasingly unreliable, the automaker stated, with customers falling away in huge numbers.
As such, “manufacturing sites in Cologne and Saarlouis in Germany, together with the Craiova facility in Romania, will temporarily halt production from Thursday, March 19,” Ford said. “Ford’s Valencia assembly and engine facility in Spain already temporarily halted production from Monday, March 16, after three workers were confirmed with coronavirus over the past weekend. Only essential work, such as maintenance and security, will continue onsite.”
Unlike Honda’s North American shutdown, Ford’s idle period is open-ended. The automaker noted “the exact duration depends on a number of factors” — a list whose contents you can probably guess.
One Toyota plant in France is already offline, with that automaker now claiming the remaining four will go dark by March 21st.
“With the acceleration of the coronavirus in various European countries or regions and the associated ‘lock-down’ measures taken by various national and regional authorities, an uncertain short-term sales outlook and difficulties in logistics and supply chains are being felt and will increase in the next weeks,” Toyota stated.
“TME has consequently decided to organise a progressive suspension of its vehicle and engines/transmissions production plants in Europe starting on 18 March until further notice.”
On Wednesday, BMW announced its European and South African plants will shut down for a period of one month.
“Our production is geared towards sales development forecasts – and we are adjusting our production volumes flexibly in line with demand,” said BMW AG chief executive Oliver Zipse. “Since yesterday: We began to shut down our European and Rosslyn automotive plants, which will close by the end of the week. The interruption of production for the mentioned plants is currently planned to run until April 19.”
German auto giant Daimler announced Tuesday that it will suspend the “majority” of its European production for two weeks. “Daimler’s management is monitoring the situation constantly and will take further measures as required,” the automaker stated. “Full operations will be resumed when the situation improves.”
[Image: © 2020 Chris Tonn/TTAC]
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