European Plants Going Dark As Continent Shuts Down

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
european plants going dark as continent shuts down

Automakers are doing their best to keep the lights on in Europe as a rapidly spreading coronavirus pandemic disrupts supply chains and sends workers and staff into quarantine. It’s proving to be a difficult task.

As a new week dawns, numerous automakers have announced plant shutdowns, with Europe’s arguably most famous factory on the verge of going dark itself. Fiat Chrysler isn’t even limiting the scope of its shutdown — the majority of its assembly sites in that continent are closed, effective immediately.

In a statement, FCA said it is shutting down all plants in Italy, Poland, and Serbia until March 27th to “effectively respond to the interruption in market demand by ensuring the optimization of supply.”

“In particular, the suspension of production is being facilitated to enable the Group to be ready to commence production promptly once market conditions allow,” the automaker continued, adding that enhanced cleaning measures are in place at all company locales, a measure bolstered by the (white collar-focused) work-from-home decision announced last week.

“The Group will make use of these stoppages to implement revisions to production and quality control protocols to benefit our customers and enhance overall productivity. The Group is working with its supply base and business partners to be ready to enable our manufacturing operations to deliver previously planned total levels of production despite the suspension when market demand returns.”

In Germany, Volkswagen’s home base is under fire from both the virus and the disruption caused to suppliers. As reported by the Financial Times, VW’s Wolfsburg assembly plant could be forced to suspend production within two days. Sources claim the flow of parts from Italy and Spain, both currently under strict lockdown orders, has led the automaker to dip into its emergency supply. That supply is apparently running low.

“Things are getting more complicated and the situation is changing rapidly,” a spokesperson told FT. Workers who remain at the plant are entering through the back door now, and can only eat food brought from home.

Elsewhere in Germany, the region of Bavaria, home to BMW and Audi, recently declared a state of emergency. Life will not go on as usual at those companies plants.

Meanwhile, Lamborghini production sites in Italy and neighboring Slovakia have ceased operations. Ferrari’s fully offline, too. On the more mainstream side of things, Ford, Renault, and VW-owned Seat have shut down plants in Spain.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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  • Garrett Garrett on Mar 16, 2020

    That Rosso Competizione tri-coat looks so much better in real life than in photos.

  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Mar 16, 2020

    Who is going to pay salaries? Where money are coming from? Ah. forgot, Bernie knows the answer. What are chances for 80 years olds to survive virus? Question, questions.

  • Dukeisduke Years ago, I was driving southbound along North Central Expressway (south of Mockingbird Lane, for locals), and watched a tire and wheel fall out of the bed of a pickup (no tailgate), bounce along, then centerpunch the front end of a Honda Accord. It wasn't pretty.
  • Dukeisduke If these were built in the US, they'd probably be plagued with recalls, like everything else they make now. It's just as well they don't bring them here.I've owned one Ford, a '95 F-150 (drove it for 17 years and 214k miles) and it was fantastic. But you couldn't run fast enough to buy another Ford. Quality used to be Job 1; now it's an afterthought.
  • Dukeisduke "side-to-side taillights""Across-the-border" is the phrase you're looking for - it's what Ford called the taillights on the '67-'68 and '70-'71 Thunderbirds.
  • 28-Cars-Later Pretty sure its the next gen Fusion, which did manage 110K sales in 2020 USDM but that was roughly 66% less than 306K it sold in 2013. If 100K units is the expected high water mark I can understand why resources went elsewhere... though Mach-E can't even do half that and its hyped like the Second Coming so maybe there was a missed opportunity after all?
  • Kcflyer Laughing inside at the "300 mile range when it's warm" line. Can you imagine if ICE vehicles were this comprised? What a sick joke the green agenda is.