As of yesterday, we saw that airlines are close to bankruptcy due to travel restrictions imposed by governments all over the world, and also ticket cancellation due to fear. Now’s the turn of the automotive industry.
The closure of car plants in Europe and the U.S.A. illustrates the global impact Coronavirus has over the automotive industry. The pandemic has already entailed an extended factory closure and a dramatic drop in vehicle sales in China. The auto sector is at the heart of Europe's manufacturing industry, and provides direct and indirect employment to nearly 14 million people, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association.
German carmaker BMW said Wednesday it would close European and South African factories accounting for half its output for a month, matching other car giants stricken by Coronavirus containment measures. "From today, we will shut down our European car factories and the Rosslyn factory in South Africa," chief executive Oliver Zipse said, adding that the interruption is expected for now to last "until April 19".
Volkswagen is preparing to suspend production across Europe as the continent is fighting to contain the Coronavirus pandemic. The production will be on idle in Spain, Portugal, and Slovakia before the end of the week. Italian carmakers Lamborghini and Ducati put their production lines on hold as well.
Toyota, the world's second-biggest carmaker after Volkswagen, said Tuesday it was halting operations at two plants in France and Portugal.
In the U.S.A.
The United Auto Workers union is calling on Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to shut down their U.S. factories for two weeks amid the Coronavirus outbreak. In a letter sent to union members, U.A.W. President Rory Gamble said the union had requested the shutdown "to safeguard our members, our families, and our communities."
The carmakers asked for 48 hours to consider other plans, according to the letter.
The automakers and the U.A.W. had announced last weekend that they were creating a joint task force to come up with practices to keep factories safe from the Coronavirus.
Sources: cnn.com, economictims.indiatimes.com.
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