The worlds biggest carmakers will gradually reopen plants in Europe starting next week, but with a focus on health and safety rather than production volume, as lockdown measures are eased in one of the regions hit hardest by the CCP virus pandemic.
Volkswagen said in a statement Wednesday that production of its passenger car brands will resume at plants in Zwickau, Germany and Bratislava, Slovakia starting the week of April 20, after a month-long shutdown. Other plants in Germany, Portugal, Spain, Russia, and the United States will restart production the following week, with South Africa, Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico expected to follow in May, the company said.
“With the decisions by the federal and state governments in Germany and the loosening of restrictions in other European states, conditions have been established for the gradual resumption of production,” Ralf Brandstätter, chief operating officer of the Volkswagen brand, said in a statement.
Toyota said production at plants in France and Poland that closed in the middle of March would resume on April 22, but at significantly reduced volumes. In France, the automaker will run a single shift for the first two weeks, down from the usual three. “It is understood that the best way to restart is under no volume pressure, with focus on health and safety,” the Japanese company said in a statement.
Italy, Denmark, Austria, Spain, and the Czech Republic are also beginning to ease limits that were placed on daily life to curb the spread of the CCP virus. Around 300,000 nonessential workers are estimated to have gone back to their jobs in Spains Madrid region on Monday. In Germany, some restrictions are expected to be eased starting next week.
A spokesperson for Hyundai told CNN Business that the carmaker reopened its plant in the Czech Republic on Tuesday with two instead of three shifts. The companys factory in Turkey will open on April 20. Sports car maker Ferrari, among the first automakers to suspend production on March 14, said its plants in Maranello and Modena will remain closed until May 3, in accordance with Italys decision to extend most lockdown measures.
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