European automakers in restart mode

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 21 Apr 2020


After almost a month-long shutdown, many automakers in Europe are restarting operations across their plants in the continent.

Volvo Cars has resumed production at its Torslanda plant in Sweden. The company, has decided to reopen the plant after dialogue with relevant labour unions along with its Swedish offices. Both the plant and offices have been prepared in recent weeks to be as safe as possible for people to return in a way that safeguards their health.

Volvo undertakes extensive sanitation measures

A constant, close dialogue with all partners and suppliers aims to secure continued production amid ongoing yet reducing disruptions in the supply chain. Production volumes in Torslanda will be adjusted to meet demand in the market as well as existing order books.

Hakan Samuelsson, chief executive, Volvo Cars said, “We have a responsibility towards our employees and our suppliers to restart operations now that the situation allows it. The best thing we can do to help society is to find ways to restart the company in a safe way, thereby safeguarding people’s health and their jobs.”

All facilities were cleaned extensively, while sanitation and cleaning routines have been intensified across Volvo’s plants and offices. Voluntary temperature and pulse oximeter checks is offered at the main entrances.

In recent weeks, company officials have reviewed every single working station in the Torslanda plant from a health and safety perspective, and where social distancing is not possible, other protective measures have been put in place.

In Swedish office buildings the layout in all meeting rooms, office spaces and restaurants has been adjusted where necessary to allow for social distancing, for example by ensuring that desks are placed appropriately and limiting the number of people allowed in meeting rooms and restaurants.

As for the other sites in Volvo Cars’ global manufacturing network, the Ghent, Belgium plant also opened on Monday, April 20, but at reduced production output. The company currently plans to reopen its South Carolina plant in the United States on Monday May 11.

The engine plant in Skovde, Sweden and the body component manufacturing site in Olofstrom, Sweden will continue to plan their production on a weekly basis and adapt according to needs in the other plants.

Office workers in other markets will continue to follow local guidelines. Volvo Cars will continue to make use of the support package introduced by the Swedish government earlier this year, which means a continued reduction of working time for most employees. The welcome support by the government allows Volvo Cars to protect its fundamentally healthy business until markets stabilise.

Hyundai resumes operation across Europe

Meanwhile in other parts of Europe, Hyundai Motor reopened its factory in the Czech Republic on April 14 but it started with two shifts instead of three shifts. The company's factory in Turkey also opened on April 20.

Ferrari plants to be closed till May 3
Ferrari, one of the first car manufacturers to discontinue production on March 14, said that according to Italy's decision to extend the confinement measures, its factories in Maranello and Modena will continue to be closed until May 3.