|Volume 50 Number 15, April 25, 2020||ARCHIVE||HOME||JBCENTRE||SUBSCRIBE|
Competion between car manufacturers has caused many companies to kick-start production as Covid-19 restrictions are eased in Europe.
Various governments across the world are scrambling to return to "normality" in order to compete in the market. Various multinational companies are creating a scare that if economies do not start operating effectively then the crisis will turn to recession and depression greater than the 1930s.
Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) said that it will gradually resume some production from May 18, starting with its plants in Brtain, Slovakia and Austria.
JLR's joint venture plant in Changshu has been in operation since the middle of February. Tata Jaguar said: "As countries are relaxing distancing guidelines and retailers are reopening around the world, the restart of production at our other plants will be confirmed in due course."
One reason it is enthusiastic about returning to production is that it wants to launch the first sales of the new Land Rover Defender. Therefore the company is planning an "orderly return" for its plants located at Castle Bromwich, Solihull, and Halewood in the West Midlands and northern regions of England.
Because of the wariness and mistrust the company have "agreed" to extend lockdown restrictions for a few more weeks but want to return to production "as soon as conditions permit," they said in a statement. They "promise" to include implementing robust screening protocols to "best practice" standards.
The extent of the crisis was shown pre-lockdown. JLR reported a 42 per cent fall in sales of Jaguar models between January and March, while sales of Range Rovers and Land Rovers declined 25 per cent. These are not small amounts and shift lay-offs were in the offing. Instead the pandemic "solved" the problem. It was reported that the company's total 2019-20 sales were down 12 per cent at just over 5 million vehicles.
Over 2,000 factory workers arrived at Magna Steyr's plant in Graz, Austria, for the first time in a month. They assemble the luxury Mercedes G-Class wagon for the contract manufacturer and were given two face masks on arrival. Magna Steyr, builds models for Jaguar, BMW and Toyota as well as Mercedes.
Volvo plans to restart its main Swedish factory at "full speed" and control output by limiting hours, something that requires workers on its assembly line operating close together.
Hyundai's plant in the Czech Republic reopened this week.
Fiat, which is waiting for the green light to open, will use slower lines once given the all-clear.
Toyota will reopen two French plants next week.
Volkswagen confirmed that reopening of assembly lines in Zwickau, Germany, and in Bratislava, Slovakia, for Monday 20 April. Daimler also said it will resume outputs at its plants in Hamburg, Berlin and Untertuerkheim next week. It said that plants in Sindelfingen and Bremen are preparing to ramp up production.
Car plants in Russia, Spain, Portugal and the United States will ramp up production from April 27 onwards, joined by factories in South Africa, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico in May.
In China, where Volkswagen has already implemented health measures, 32 of the 33 plants have resumed production.
BMW said it had no information about the timetable for resuming production. The Munich-based manufacturer had suspended production until the end of April.
French bosses of Vauxhall have said that the Ellesmere Port factory - which produces the Astra - has remained "active" during the lockdown to implement a protocol of reinforced health measures.
People require decisive measures for dealing with Coronavirus such as extensive testing, masks and contact tracing as well as vaccine. They demand funding and investment for the NHS instead of the rundown that was prevalent.
It can be said that workers at Tata Jaguar and other car manufacturing companies do not want the market to determine their jobs and destiny as well as the threat of pandemic to their families and communities. They want to be empowered to be the decision-makers.
(Various news media sources)