Ford Halts Production in Europe Amid COVID-19 Disruption
Ford has made the decision to temporarily suspend production in Europe in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Starting Thursday, March 19, the automaker will suspend vehicle and engine production for a period expected to last weeks. Ford already halted production at its Valencia, Spain, plant at the start of the week after three employees tested positive for the virus, and will suspend production at its Cologne and Saarlouis plants in Germany, as well as the Craiova plant in Romania.
Ford vehicle production in Europe has already been dealing with parts shortages in the wake of the outbreak, while many dealerships across the EU countries, as well as the U.K., have decreased their hours in response to a sharp drop in demand, while keeping their service operations going.
“While the impact of coronavirus at our facilities so far has been limited thankfully, its effects on our employees, dealers, suppliers and customers, as well as European society as a whole, is unprecedented,” said Stuart Rowley, president, Ford of Europe. “Due to the dramatic impact this ongoing crisis is having on the European market and the supplier industry—together with the recent actions by countries to restrict all but essential travel and personal contact—we are temporarily halting production at our main continental Europe manufacturing sites.”
Ford’s decision to suspend European production follows similar moves by Volkswagen, SEAT, Renault, Peugeot, Citroen, Toyota, Skoda, Nissan and Mercedes-Benz, which will have closed all or most of their production facilities in continental Europe by the end of this week. The first major shutdowns occurred in Spain, which imposed a 15-day lockdown starting Monday, March 16, in an effort to slow the infection rate of the coronavirus. Days prior, automakers in Italy, including FCA, Lamborghini and Ferrari, also suspended production.
“While it is hoped this action will only be required for a short period, the exact duration depends on a number of factors,” Ford said. “These include the spread of the coronavirus; national government and European Union restrictions on movement, including across borders; the supplier industry’s ability to supply components; and the return of customers to dealerships, many of which are now closed as part of the measures taken at a national level.”
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