With coronavirus affecting manufacturing across the world, car manufacturer Vauxhall has decided to close their Luton and Ellesmere Port factories until 27 March, reports The Metro.
The company is owned by PSA Group, which also owns Peugeot and Opal, who is closing all their European plants, including those in the UK.
In a statement, they said: ‘Due to the acceleration observed in recent days of serious Covid-19 cases close to certain production sites, supply disruptions from major suppliers, as well as the sudden decline in the automobile markets, the chairman of the executive board with the members of the crisis unit decided the principle of the closure of the vehicle production sites.’
Fiat Chrysler, Volkswagen, and Audi have decreased production at their European plants, as they face reduced demand. Worker representatives in Italy, France, Belgium and Germany have demanded stricter controls on hygiene, disinfection and isolation for employees working on Europe’s production lines.
The worst-hit European country is Italy, who was the first to enforce a nationwide lockdown, which was followed by Spain and to a lesser extent France. As non-essential services, such as car dealerships, are forced to close, and many people now working at home, industry analysts are forecasting a heavy fall in car sales in March.
A few weeks of closure are not a huge problem for the European auto industry, as lost production can be recovered. Marco Opipari, an analyst at Fidentiis said: “The real problem is on the demand side. People are not buying cars now, and sales volumes are expected to be very bad in March, with a real impact on automakers’ earnings.”
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