Jaguar Land Rover, Britain’s biggest car maker, is aiming to resume production at its plants in Solihull, Slovakia and Austria from 18 May onwards.
The firm has said it will gradually resume production in Europe, starting at these three facilities, with production at other sites - including its other UK plants – following “in due course” as restrictions to tackle the coronavirus outbreak are gradually eased.
Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) said “the health and wellbeing of our employees is our first priority” and is working on a series of “robust” protocols and guidelines for when production resumes. These are likely to be similar to those introduced by other car firms that have resumed production elsewhere in Europe and will include social distancing measures.
The coronavirus pandemic has hit the car industry hard, with factories closed worldwide and sales slumping as dealerships are forced to shut due to lockdown restrictions. JLR sales fell by 30.9% year on year in the first three months of 2020 and the firm has currently placed around half its staff on furlough under the UK government’s job retention scheme. JLR’s executive leadership team have also taken pay cuts.
Production has already resumed at JLR’s joint venture plant in Changsha, China, where the coronavirus outbreak began earlier and restrictions are already easing.
JLR is the latest manufacturer to confirm it is preparing to resume production in the UK. Nissan has started a pilot scheme at its Sunderland plant and Aston Martin is aiming to resume work at its St Athan facility on 5 May.