Corona leaves trail of devastation in the automotive industry

April 15, 2020 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Corona leaves trail of devastation in the automotive industry
The Corona crisis still has the car industry firmly in its grip. More or less all car manufacturers and suppliers have shut down, reduced or suspended production. But there are also some who are just now starting to produce again.

Looking at the consequences of the corona pandemic for the automotive industry in Europe, it is clear that initially all companies are affected more or less equally by plant closures. The European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) estimates that the decline in production amounts to 1.47 million vehicles; more than 1.1 million workers in the EU and UK are affected by the shutdowns. However, in some places there is a little bit of hope: some manufacturers are just restarting production, others are preparing for it. And in China, production is already humming again. The article gives an update as to the current date, but the situation is changing dynamically.

Audi: has been on short-time work at its German plants in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm since March 18, and production has been suspended for the time being. Work on the approval of new models, i.e. small-series production, tests and test rigs, is continuing. However, the company is currently making preparations to return to normal routine. Since April 14, engine production has resumed at the plant in Györ (Hungary); initially, several hundred engines per day are to come off the production line.

BMW: announced shortly before Easter that it will extend the production stop for its plants in Europe and North America until the end of April. The company also expects a significant drop in demand due to the corona pandemic. In order to be able to do anything at all, the company now wants to enter into the production of breathing masks. 

Daimler: Since April 6, the company  significantly reduced the majority of its production in the passenger car, van and commercial vehicle plants as well as in parts of the administration. This is to remain so until April 30. However, the production of powertrains in Germany is to be gradually resumed as early as April 20; in addition, the passenger car factories in Sindelfingen and Bremen (Germany) are then to go back to work. In the meantime, the production services provider Magna-Steyr who assembles the comapny's G-series of cross-country vehicles has resumed production at its Graz (Austria) plant.

Ford: Already suspended vehicle and engine production at most of its European sites at the beginning of April. Earlier, on 19th March, production was stopped at Ford's factories in Saarlouis and Cologne (both in Germany), Valencia (Spain) and Craiova (Romania). In the British plants in Bridgend and Dagenham, production will be suspended on 23 March. The car manufacturer now cites 4 May as the expected date for the resumption of operations.

Honda: Sent its employees in the USA on unpaid forced leave just before Easter, similar to Nissan and Toyota.

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