How coronavirus has hit the global auto industry: a timeline

Not a day passes by without an automaker either suspending operations or operating with minimal workforce to keep Coronavirus at bay. Indian automakers, like their global counterparts, are following suit.

Autocar Pro News Desk By Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 19 Mar 2020 Views icon25435 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
How coronavirus has hit the global auto industry: a timeline

The outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), which originated in Wuhan, China in end-December 2019, is fast spreading its tentacles across the world and is having a major impact on all aspects of society, including the automotive industry. All through January and February, automakers and their suppliers have been scrambling to keep vehicle assembly lines humming but March has seen the industry take concerted action, in sync with government advisories, to keep its personnel safe.

With the World Health Organisation declaring the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic, an unprecedented global disruption is at hand. Automobile and component manufacturing plants are being shuttered around the world, consumer footfalls in showrooms have fallen sharply, vehicle sales are dropping dramatically and almost every major industry event is either being cancelled or going the digital way. All of March has been packed with coronavirus-related news and it all started with the cancellation of the 2020 Geneva Motor Show, which was to open on March 5.

Here is a timeline detailing how COVID-19 has impacted the automotive industry around the world, and in India.

Friday, February 28
● Five days before the 2020 Geneva Motor Show – billed as the biggest show on the global automotive calendar – was due to open to journalists on Tuesday, March 3, the organiser International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (OICA) cancelled the event. This was after several confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Geneva and other parts of Switzerland came to light. At the time, there was a substantial outbreak of the coronavirus, in northern Italy, with cases announced in a number of other European countries.

Thursday, March 12
● The Australian Grand Prix was cancelled by Formula 1 bosses just hours before practice was due to begin on Friday, following McLaren's withdrawal from the race due to one of its team members testing positive for coronavirus.

The decision by Formula 1 and the FIA, motorsport's governing body, was announced on Friday morning in Australia, with fans already queuing for admission to the street circuit in Albert Park, Melbourne. It was made after discussions between F1 bosses, the FIA, Australian Grand Prix organisers and the 10 teams over whether the event should proceed.

A statement from Formula 1 and the FIA said, "This is very disappointing news for the thousands of fans due to attend the race and all ticket holders will receive a full refund and a further announcement will be communicated in due course."

● Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) has announced that in light of the current outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the fight against the pandemic, it has taken preventive measures to safeguard the health and safety of all stakeholders including customers, employees, and dealer partners. The OEM says it has been closely monitoring the evolving situation and responding appropriately in accordance with guidance issued by the government.

Friday, March 13
Daimler postpones Annual Shareholders’ Meeting: An email to the media states that "After weighing all aspects, especially the health of all participants and after the order of the responsible health department, Daimler AG has decided not to hold the company’s Annual Shareholders’ Meeting as scheduled on April 1, 2020, but to postpone it to a later date in 2020."
BYD has created the world's largest mass-produced face masks plant in industrial parks in Shenzhen.The plant is now running at full capacity and is able to produce 5 million masks and 300,000 bottles of disinfectants per day. This allows the firm address shortages that have affected hospitals and agencies across China in the face of the global Covid-19 outbreak.

Sunday, March 15
Tata Motors' PR releases an 'internal memo' written by CEO and Managing Director Guenter Butschek. It reveals that the company has in place a three-tiered response plan to reduce the risk of coronavirus to its employees

● Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is closing the majority of its European plants until March 27, including six in Italy and those in Serbia and Poland. Ferrari will also close its Maranello factory, while Italian brake manufacturer Brembo is also shutting down. 

● The World Rally Championship event in Mexico was halted early so that the competing teams would have extra time to get home, given the increase in travel restrictions. The next event, Rally Argentina, has been postponed. 

Monday, March 16
● The UK government is in talks with major automotive manufacturers, including Ford and Honda, about producing ventilators for the NHS in their UK production facilities. The idea has precedent: in China, the car industry is already helping to battle the spread of coronavirus. Chinese car maker BYD has created production lines at its Shenzen facility to produce face-masks and disinfectants. It says that it's producing 300,000 bottles of disinfectant and five million masks per day, making it the world's largest producer of the latter product.

● The PSA Group will stage phased closures of all of its factories across Europe, including the Vauxhall plants at Ellesmere Port and Luton. 

● Ford has closed its factory in Valencia, Spain after three workers tested positive for Covid-19. In a statement, Ford said: “We have had three positive cases for Covid-19 on the Valencia site in a 24-hour period, two of which involved more isolated workers that did not enter the assembly operations. We are taking quick action to follow the established protocol, including the identification and self-isolation of all employees who had close contact with the affected workers. We will take all other appropriate steps to ensure that risk from this situation is minimised.”

● Ford India said it is continuing to act in real-time to keep its "people safe and help limit the spread of the virus in communities where we live and work. Therefore, starting Monday March 16, we have instructed much of our India workforce (over 10,000 people) including Ford India and Global Business Services – except those in business-critical roles that cannot be done away from Ford facilities – to work remotely until further notice."

A PTI report has it that the Ford India spokesperson added, "All necessary safety measures have been deployed at Ford locations as well as our dealerships to ensure minimum inconvenience to customers." 

Tuesday, March 17
● Mahindra & Mahindra announced a ‘work from home’ (WFH) policy, from March 18-31, for 7,000 desk-based staffers. However, the company's manufacturing and R&D operations will continue functioning. 

● FCA India, which retails the Jeep brand of SUVs, says it "has permitted over 50% of its staff in its Mumbai and Pune offices to work from home, at least until March 31, 2020, and is taking proactive measures to ensure ‘social distancing’, which is the need of the hour."

FCA, which operates from three locations in India – Corporate Office in Mumbai, an Engineering office in Pune and the main Engineering Centre in Chennai – says it has prioritised the option of ‘work from home’ (WFH) for its staff in Maharashtra based on precautionary advisories by the government of India and also the State Governments. The WFH alternative for the mission-critical engineering workforce in Chennai is under consideration and not in play as yet.

● Volvo Car India announced a 'work from home' strategy as a safety measure with immediate effect. As part of its overall health and safety plan to mitigate risks associated with Covid-19, the company said the "the necessary IT infrastructure is in place to facilitate business continuity, with scheduled meetings managed via Microsoft Teams/ Skype."

● Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations (FADA) approaches the Supreme Court to extend the cut-off for sales of BS-IV vehicles to May 31 as retail sales have nosedived due to the impact of Coronavirus. According to FADA president Ashish Kale, "In the past week, there has been a drastic drop in sales and customer walk-ins have reduced to a trickle as caution sets in due to fear of spreading of the virus. Counter sales have fallen by 60-70% across auto dealerships. The situation has worsened in the past 3-4 days with partial lockdown situation in many towns and cities and few district magistrates have started issuing notices of closure of shops and establishments including auto dealerships to stop the spread of virus. Many of our members may face dealership closures if leftover with unsold BS IV stocks."

● Ford will suspend production at its factories in continental Europe from Thursday 19 March. The decision, which the firm expects "will continue for a number of weeks" will affect two plants in Germany and one in Romania. The firm has already suspended production at its Valencia factory after three workers were confirmed with coronavirus. The firm's two UK engine plants are not affected. The firm added that while dealerships in some countries have temporarily closed their sales operations, its dealers are committed to "provide essential maintenance and service across the continent."

● The Volkswagen Group is shutting down most of its factories in Europe, with boss Herbert Diess saying that it's “almost impossible” to forecast the company's 2020 financial performance.

 Volkswagen India's plant in Chakan, near Pune, is not facing any major production disruption yet because it's already on a 3-week production shutdown, starting Monday, March 16. The company says this shutdown is to prepare the production lines for the new set of models based on the new MQB A0 IN platform that will drive the global major's 'India 2.0' strategy in the marketplace. 

Though there could have been a potentially serious impact in production due to disruption in supplies from the virus outbreak affected automotive hubs outside of China. Volkswagen started production of BS VI cars in February as planned, though there would be a delay in the production of vehicles with automatic transmissions sourced from Japan. The delay could be a "maximum" of two to three months. "It (production shutdown timing) fits pretty well in the current environment. We are also supporting people to stay at home. So far, we have managed to work around it," said Steffen Knapp, director, Volkswagen Passenger Cars India.

However, the company has had to shut its 120,000 square feet spare parts warehouse in Gurgaon, one of three in the country, after the local administration issued an advisory to shut down operations of offices and industrial units in order to contain the virus outbreak. Vehicle sales are also affected as some states have advised dealerships to suspend operations in the wake of the virus outbreak. While monitoring the constantly developing situation closely, Volkswagen, and other industry peers would also brace themselves for some challenging times.  "The customers have something else in their mind if it’s getting to their health, so they may not think of purchasing vehicles," said Knapp.

● The Tesla factory in Fremont, California, US is remaining open, despite a "shelter in place" lockdown being issued for the area in which it's located. The plant, where the Model 3 is produced, has been deemed an essential business by Alameda County. According to the Los Angeles Times, Tesla boss Elon Musk has emailed the plant's 10,000 workers saying they can stay at home if they feel unwell or uncomfortable.

Wednesday, March 18
● Volkswagen India chooses to launch its second SUV of 2020 – the T-Roc – digitally, sticking to the formula of social distancing. The T-Roc's online launch comes just about two weeks after the German carmaker launched its BS VI-compliant Tiguan Allspace in Mumbai on March 6. 

● Hero MotoCorp, India's largest two-wheeler OEM, sets up a task force to respond to the Coronavirus outbreak. Employees have been told to work from home every alternate day, and non-essential travel and physical meetings have been discontinued. The company says it is well prepared with a contingency plan.

● The Le Mans 24 Hours has been moved back from its planned 13/14 June date until 19/20 September. The organisers say the delay will involve rescheduling several of rounds of the FIA World Endurance Championship. 

The world's most prestigious endurance race was first held in May 1923, but has since been run in June, with two exceptions. In 1956, the event was held in July, while in 1968 civil unrest in France caused the event to be delayed until September. The race has been cancelled 10 times: in 1936 due to a labour strike, and between 1940 and 1948 due to World War Two. 

● Rolls-Royce has confirmed it will suspend production at its Goodwood manufacturing plant from Monday, March 23. The suspension is currently planned for two weeks, and leads into the already scheduled two-week Easter maintenance shutdown. It added that day-to-day operations will be assured by non-production staff at the company's head office, or working remotely.

Company boss Torsten Müller-Ötvös said: “This action has not been taken lightly, but the health and well-being of our exceptional workforce is first and foremost in our minds.  We are a tight-knit community at the Home of Rolls-Royce and I have no doubt that our resilience will shine through during this extraordinary time."

● Porsche has announced that it will stop production for an initial period of two weeks. The decision will affect its Zuffenhausen and Leipzig plants in Germany, with the suspension starting from Saturday, March 21. The firm cited the protection of its personnel due to coronavirus, but added that bottlenecks in its supply chain no longer enabled "orderly production". The firm also said it is anticipating a decline in demand.

● Toyota is suspending production at all of its European plants, including its two UK facilities in Burnaston, Derbyshire and Deeside, Flintshire. 

● The BMW Group is also in the process of halting production at all of its European factories, along with its site in South Africa. They will all be closed by the end of the week, and is currently scheduled to last until April 19.

● Honda will suspend production at all of its North American plants for six days from 23 March, due to an "anticipated decline in market demand". It said it will continue to pay staff fully during the suspension, and will also utilise the period to enhance deep cleaning measures. The move will affect plants in the USA, Canada and Mexico.

● The Tesla factory in Fremont, California is set to be forced to close, with officials in Alameda County having reportedly determined it is a "non-essential" business. The plant was originally set to stay open despite a "stay at home" order in the county, but county spokesperson Sargeant Ray Kelly told The Mercury News: "If Tesla was a hospital, if Tesla was a laundromat, if Tesla was a mechanic shop, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. But Tesla makes cars, and that’s not essential for us to get through this health crisis.”

Thursday 19 March
 Honda has suspended production at its UK plant, where the Civic hatch is built, "in light of increasing difficulties with supply chains and considering the wellbeing" or staff. The firm says it intends to restart production on 6 April, dependent on government advice and market conditions.

● The Driving Vehicle Standards Agency has postponed all driving tests in the UK due to take place today and tomorrow. In Northern Ireland, driving tests have been suspended for three months.

● Both Ford and GM have suspended production at their North American factories until at least 30 March. The two firms say they will take the time to clean and sanitise their plants in the USA, Canada and Mexico, and both are in talks with unions about keeping workers safe when production resumes. Audi has also suspended production in its Mexico plant due to supply chain issues.

● Hyundai has suspended production at its US factory in Alabama after a worker tested positive for Covid-19. The firm is working with local officials to sanitise the site and determining when it it safe for production to resume. 

● In consultation with Volkswagen Group and the KOVO union, Skoda Auto suspended production at its Czech plants in Mladá Boleslav, Kvasiny and Vrchlabí at 10pm on March 19, for an initial period of minimum two weeks. The company says, the factories are being shut down in an orderly manner in close alignment with the supply chain to ensure a smooth process. As things stand, operations are scheduled to recommence on April 6. Meanwhile, production of Skoda models has resumed at the Chinese plants. In India and Russia, manufacturing is continuing according to plan.

Friday, 20 March
● Toyota Kirloskar Motor has decided that its regional Strategic Business Units in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bangalore will be operating with temporary reduced headcount [50%]. The selection of such 50 percent staff would be done in such a way that there is minimal business impact and also to minimise the risk of staff health. The balance 50 percent of the staff would work from home. 

Bugatti has suspended production at its plant in Molsheim, France. In a statement, the hypercar manufacturer said necessary regulations implemented by European governments to combat the COVID-19 pandemic make it impossible, amongst other things, to maintain the supply chain of production and spare parts. In addition, it is almost impossible to deliver vehicles completed in the Atelier to their
owners due to the travel restrictions.

Hyundai Motor India has announced a series of measures as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the country.Adding that it has advised its employees to work remotely, the company has set up preventive thermal
screening for its employees, and has asked dealer and vendor partners to strictly follow government advisories.

Hyundai will also offer a 2-month extension to customers who are unable to avail their vehicle’s warranty / extended warranty / free service due to a health emergency or dealership shutdown in affected cities. The company will also continue to offer 24x7 Roadside Assistance, and has deployed an additional 1,000+ Doorstep Advantage bikes and emergency road service cars.

Apollo Tyres’ top management has announced a voluntary reduction in pay due to the impact of COVID-19 on the automotive industry. Company Chairman and MD Onkar S Kanwar and Vice Chairman; MD Neeraj Kanwar have accepted a 25 per cent reduction in their salary. Furthermore, other senior executives have also taken a voluntary 15 per cent reduction in their salary in a show of solidarity due to the rapidly deteriorating market conditions.

The Coronavirus has spread further across the country, endangering more lives every day. In light of these developments and in line with broad global consensus, as a community, we need to act early and adopt social distancing to help break the contagion and get ahead of the virus. We have taken various measure at a group level as well as at Tata Motors.

 At 10.30pm, Tata Motors  issued a statement that it could, if the situation warrants, be ready for Pune plant closure by end-March 24 (Tuesday). The company said: "We have been monitoring the situation closely and all data seems to point out that Maharashtra has been the most impacted. In the interest of safety of our employees in the state, we have decided to rapidly scale down activities at Pune site to get to skeletal operations by end of Monday, 23rd March 2020 and be ready for plant closure by end Tuesday March 24th, 2020 if the situation warrants."

TVS Motor has announced key measures to tackle COVID-19 across its manufacturing facilities in India and Indonesia, as well as offices across the globe. Work from home has been implemented on a rotational basis in applicable offices. All employees have been sensitised on the importance and methods of home quarantine to ensure maximum effectiveness. Steps to maintain workplace hygeine is also maintained. All domestic and international travel has been suspended by the company. All internal meetings exceeding 5 people have to be mandatorily conducted on video/telecon. External meetings have been suspended. 

● Jaguar Land Rover's production operations in Castle Bromwich, Halewood and Solihull will also be temporarily halted. The three plants assemble around half a million cars per year - about a third of the UK’s total passenger car output.

●The production line at Bentley’s facility in Crewe also came to a halt temporarily. Last year the plant - Bentley's sole manufacturing facility - produced just over 11,000 cars globally.

Tesla is to temporarily stop production at its Fremont, USA manufacturing plant starting Monday (March 23). This brings to an end the long-drawn standoff between the company and local, state and Federal government officials to suspend operations to slow the march of coronavirus.

Saturday, 21 March
● From March 21, Ford Motor Company began temporarily suspending vehicle and engine production at its International Markets Group (IMG) manufacturing sites in response to the growing impact of the coronavirus. The IMG production suspensions began Saturday, March 21, and will continue for several weeks depending on the pandemic situation, national restrictions, supplier constraints and dealer stock requirements.

March 21: India -- Chennai Vehicle Assembly Plant, Sanand Vehicle Assembly Plant, Sanand Engine Plant and Chennai Engine Plant.

March 26: Vietnam -- Ford Vietnam Limited Haiduong Assembly Plant.

March 27: Thailand -- Ford Motor Company (Thailand) Limited.

March 27: South Africa – Silverton Assembly Plant (Pretoria) and Struandale Engine Plant (Port Elizabeth).

Production suspensions will vary market by market; expected to last a number of weeks depending on pandemic situation, national restrictions, supplier constraints and dealer stock requirements. The measures announced follow actions previously announced by Ford, including the temporary suspension of vehicle and engine production in North America, Europe and South America.

Sunday, 22 March
The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), the apex national body representing all major vehicle and vehicular engine manufacturers urged manufacturers to halt production. Rajan Wadhera, President, SIAM in a statement said that, “With a view to the deteriorating situation arising out of COVID-19, SIAM and ACMA have both  requested their Members in OEMs and Auto Component Industry to consider plant shut down for a limited period to overcome the critical period so that workers are not exposed to the virus." 

Fiat India Automobiles, FCA's joint venture manufacturing facility in Ranjangaon, near Pune, has announced today that it will temporarily close operations and suspend production to protect the health and safety of employees. The temporary suspension will be in effect till March 31, is in response to the increasing prevalence of Covid-19 cases in Maharashtra, and particularly in Pune. 

The company says it has already implemented increased sanitary processes coupled with staffer safety measures including thermal screening and extra buses for the work commute to ensure social distancing. During this closure, the Ranjangaon plant will see intensified cleaning and sanitisation including total fumigation. A company statement said, "There will be no retrenchment of any plant employees as a result of the plant closure and all will continue to receive their salaries during this closure period." 

Hero MotoCorp, the world's largest two-wheeler manufacturer, has confirmed that it is halting operations at all its global manufacturing facilities – including six in India, and one each in Colombia and Bangladesh – and the Global Parts Centre (GPC) at Neemrana with immediate effect until March 31, 2020. Employees at all the other functions and locations including the Centre of Innovation and Technology (CIT) in Jaipur in the northern Indian state of Rajasthan will continue to work from home, except for those whose physical presence is necessary to run the day-to-day essential services.

Hero MotoCorp says it has been proactively monitoring the situation since the early stages of the breakout of Covid-19, and had rolled out a slew of measures to ensure the safety and well-being of its employees and also, thereby to help contain the spread of the Coronavirus.

A task force set up by chairman Dr Pawan Munjal is constantly monitoring developments through regular video conferencing and tele-meetings to ensure that safety and business-continuity plans are up-to-date and effective.

Maruti Suzuki India, the passenger vehicle market leader, has shut production and office operations at its manufacturing facilities in Gurgaon and Manesar, Haryana with immediate effect till further notice. The R&D Centre at Rohtak will also remain closed. 

While the Gurgaon plant has a manufacturing capacity of 700,000 units per annum in in two shifts in two assembly facilities, the Manesar plant has a manufacturing capacity of 880,000 units per annum in two shifts in three assembly facilities. In a statement issued today at 4pm, the company says it "has been taking all recommended precautions in its operations against the spread of COVID-19, which includes sanitisation and hygiene, temperature checks, maximising video-conferencing and minimising contact, closing employee travel, health and distancing advisories to employees and following all government directions on the subject. As a next step, the Government policy now requires closure of production and accordingly the company has taken a decision on production closure. The duration of this shutdown will depend upon government policy."

Mahindra & Mahindra is to suspendmanufacturing operations at its Nagpur Plant with immediate effect and Chakan (Pune) and Kandivali (Mumbai) from Monday night onwards. None of the plants are working on Sunday, March 22 either. These measures were announced apart from proactive, preventive and pre-emptive measures at all their offices and manufacturing locations across India, to ensure employee safety and contain the spread of Covid-19. 

● Honda Cars India and Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI), the passenger vehicle and two-wheeler arms of the Japanese automaker, have suspended their manufacturing operations. Honda Cars India today said production operations at both its manufacturing plants in Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh and Tapukara, Rajasthan will be temporarily suspended from March 23 till March 31. Both plants have a cumulative manufacturing capacity of 280,000 units per annum.

At HMSI, whose four factories – Manesar (Haryana), Tapukara (Rajasthan), Kolar (Karnataka) and Vithalapur (Gujarat) – with a combined capacity of 6.4 million units in FY2019 have moved to BS VI production, have temporarily shut down operations with immediate effect till further notice.  The duration of this shut down will depend upon the government policy, says the company. 

Monday, 23 March
● Hyundai Motor India, whose two manufacturing plants in Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu churn out a new car every 33 seconds, has suspended production from today until the Tamil Nadu government notifies it of resumption of activity. While Plant 1 has a manufacturing capacity of 330,000 units per annum, Plant 2 has 420,000.  

● Toyota Kirloskar Motor, which was among the first OEMs in India to take preventive measures to safe guard health and safety of all stakeholders including: customers, employees, and dealer partners, has announced temporary stoppage of operations at its Bidadi plants in Karnataka.  The two plants together have a manufacturing capacity of 310,000 units per annum.

A company statement says, "In view of the orders pronounced by the government of Karnataka for all labour intensive industries to work at 50% of their strength on alternate days, TKM has voluntarily decided to temporarily halt production in its plant in Bidadi, Karnataka till further announcement."

Toyota has also expanded ‘Work From Home’ for all its employees in its Regional SBUs (Strategic Business Units) in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bangalore.

● Rockman Industries, the auto-components arm of Hero Group, has suspended all operations in its seven facilities till March 31. All Rockman employees, contractual and permanent, will be retained. Rockman has an employee strength of 7,200 spread across their operations. Rockman Industries, through its CSR arm- Mission Parivartan, has been actively raising awareness about the Covid -19 virus through various initiatives. Camps and sessions have been held within the plant to educate employees about the best practices of personal hygiene to protect themselves and their families against the virus. These activities were also extended to the community.

 Kia Motors India,  a few hours after sister company Hyundai Motor India stopped operations, the Korean carmaker has suspended all its operations with immediate effect. With this, the manufacturing facility in Anantapur (Andhra Pradesh) and company office premises will stop functioning until further notice.

The Anantapur plant, spread across 536 acres, has an annual capacity of 300,000 vehicles and is also capable of producing hybrid and electric vehicles. The company has invested US$ 1.1 billion (Rs 7,755 crore) into this greenfield facility, and has plans to further increase total investment to US$ 2 billion (Rs 14,100 crore) into operations, products, R&D and market expansion by 2021.

The plant is equipped with technologies such as robotics and Artificial Intelligence. The plant also houses a five-acre training facility offering a basic technical course in automobiles for skill development to provide all the skills necessary for an entry-level job on the factory floor, in the plant.

Kia Motors India's plant is Kia's 15th plant globally and also its most advanced facility to date. 

Benelli India has shut down all operations at its manufacturing and assembly plant based out of Hyderabad, with immediate effect until the end of this month, March 31, 2020. However, employees from other departments will continue to work from home.In the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak, Benelli India has shut down all operations at its manufacturing and assembly plant based out of Hyderabad, with immediate effect until the end of this month, March 31, 2020. However, employees from other departments will continue to work from home.

Renault India has temporarily suspended production at its Alliance manufacturing facility, Renault Nissan Automotive India in Chennai. Venkatram Mamillapalle, Country CEO and managing director, Renault India Operations said, "In view of the escalating Covid-19 situation and to help prevent spread of the virus, production has been temporarily suspended at our Alliance Plant. We will await further notifications from the state government to resume operations. All employees in our Corporate and Regional offices including Chennai, Gurgaon, Mumbai, Kolkata and Pune will continue to work from home.” Additionally, Renault India will continue its 24X7 roadside assistance to ensure support for its customers in case of any emergency.

Ford Motor Company is temporarily suspending vehicle and engine production at its International Markets Group (IMG) manufacturing sites in response to the growing impact of the coronavirus. The IMG production suspensions began Saturday, March 21, and will continue for several weeks depending on the pandemic situation, national restrictions, supplier constraints and dealer stock requirements.

TVS Motor has decided to halt all manufacturing operations at its plants in India and Indonesia till further notice totackle the Covid-19 pandemic. All relevant employees have already been provided with work from home facility.TVS Motor has decided to halt all manufacturing operations at its plants in India and Indonesia till further notice totackle the Covid-19 pandemic. All relevant employees have already been provided with work from home facility. The company has assured that it will protect jobs and salaries in the wake of the pandemic.  It has said that, they would work closely with their dealers and suppliers and extend all support to them in the face of this unexpected difficulty. It has also assured that it will protect jobs and salaries in the wake of the pandemic.  It has also assured that, they would work closely with their dealers and suppliers and extend all support to them in the face of this unexpected difficulty.
 India Yamaha Motor is suspending its manufacturing operations at its plants in Chennai, Surajpur and Faridabad till March 31. The operations at the Surajpur plant in Uttar Pradesh and Faridabad Plant in Haryana has been suspended from March 23 whereas the operations at the Chennai plant in Tamil Nadu will be suspended from March 24 . The employees working at the head office and area offices have been provided with the option to work from home till March 31.

Tuesday, 24 March
General Motors India has suspended production at its Talegaon manufacturing facility in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak since March 21. 

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, Mazda plans to suspend production for 13 days and operate day-time shifts only for eight days at its Hiroshima and Hofu plants in Japan starting from March 28 through to April 30. Additionally, Mazda also intends to transfer part of the production originally scheduled for this period to the second quarter of this fiscal year or later depending on the situation.

However, administrative operations will be undertaken as usual during this period. Its overseas plants in Mexico and Thailand will also shut down for approximately 10 days starting from March 25 and March 30 respectively for a similar period.

Aston Martin has confirmed the temporary suspension of all manufacturing operations at its UK plants in line with the latest UK government instructions on the fight against COVID-19. The suspension will come into force at all sites simultaneously tonight.

Ford Motor Co, 3M, GE Healthcare and United Auto Workers (UAW) have joined hands and the automaker Ford, will lend its engineering and manufacturing expertise to quickly expand production of urgently needed medical equipment and supplies for healthcare workers, first responders and patients fighting.

Indian electric two-wheeler maker, Okinawa has put all its manufacturing operations on hold until further notice as safety measure to tide over the Covid-19 breakout.

Tuesday, 24 March
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Nissan has announced a temporary suspension to production in its Africa, Middle East and India facilities. This action follows the advice and guidance of respective national governments and includes the following facilities:
-Production at the Alliance plant in Chennai, India was halted on Monday March 23 until further notice. A skeleton staff will continue to carry out essential maintenance and the situation monitored closely.
-Production will be suspended at Nissan’s Rosslyn plant in Pretoria, South Africa from March 26 until further notice.
-Nissan’s facility in Giza, Egypt, will also temporarily suspended production from March 26 for an initial two week period as a preventative measure.
In addition, offices across the region are implementing home-working to protect staff as part of the wider effort to contain or limit the spread and impact of the virus.

Maxxis India has suspended its manufacturing operations at the Sanand facility, Ahmedabad till April 14 in view of the lockdown to contain the coronavirus pandemic. Other preventive steps like discontinuation of travel for all employees until further notice, distribution of masks and personal safety equipment to essential personnel and work from home facility has been implemented.

Thursday, 26 March
As India continues to be in a 21-day lockdown to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic, Rajan Wadhera, President, SIAM welcomed announcements made by the Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman and evinced hopes for package designed for the automotive sectory which may clock losses close to Rs 2300 cr each day of th lockdown, "The announcement of Financial Action Plan of Rs. 1.7 lakh crore by Hon’ble Finance Minister to support our medical warriors, daily wage earners, farmers, construction workers, self-help groups, women will certainly entrust the faith of the vulnerable section of our society on the Government and support them in dealing with the immediate concerns caused by COVID 19. We hope the Government will also soon announce measures to support the automotive industry.”

Friday, 27 March
The Dr Abhay Firodia group led by Jayahind Industries and its subsidiaries like Force Motors, Jaya Hind Montuped has earmarked Rs 25 Crores to support Covid-19 relief activities.
The deployment will be aimed at supporting upgradation of health care infrastructure, enhancing blood collection capability, and facilitating mobile clinic/testing capabilities.
Dr Abhay Firodia,Chairman, Dr Abhay Firodia Group said, 
“In this hour of major national crisis, we reiterate our dedication, for rendering service to society and the nation.”

GoMechanic, India’s largest network of technology-enabled car service centres announced the #OpenForHeroes initiative to support emergency and essential vehicles such as ambulances, police vehicles across the top metro cities they operate in. Gurgaon Police have directed their officers to allow free movement of such technicians and mechanics. Commenting on #OpenforHeroes, Kushal Karwa, cfo-ounder, GoMechanic said, “Emergency and essential services cannot afford to stop even moreso when India is under a lockdown. Ensuring they get access to the best service and their vehicles keep running is the need of the hour and we felt it is our duty to offer the same. At the same time, we wanted to show our appreciation for these real life heroes in whatever way this is of help to each of them. ”

Saturday, 28 March
At the behest of the Government of India, Maruti Suzuki India has engaged itself in the production of ventilators, masks and other protective equipment. An arrangement has been entered into with AgVa Healthcare, an existing approved manufacturer of ventilators. Maruti Suzuki India will work with AgVa Healthcare to rapidly scale up production of ventilators. The intention is to reach a volume of 10,000 units per month.

Mahindra & Mahindra, which is actively engaged in the fight against coronavirus and is assisting the government of India and medical services, is to begin manufacture of a face shield/mask, developed from a design sourced from Ford Motor Corporation, from March 30. It is understood that the company's personnel at the Kandivli and Igatpuri plants in Maharashtra worked to develop this low-cost ventilator, estimated to cost around Rs 7,500.

German automaker Mercedes-Benz has offered its support with the production of medical equipment. With the aid of 3D printers, individual components can be produced that are urgently needed in medical technology as a result of the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Ford Motor Company, joining forces with firms including 3M and GE Healthcare, is lending its manufacturing and engineering expertise to quickly expand production of urgently needed medical equipment and supplies for healthcare workers, first responders and patients fighting coronavirus.

Monday, 30 March
Mahindra & Mahindra begins manufacturing of face shields at its Kandivali plant in Mumbai. These face shield/mask are developed from a design sourced from Ford Motor Corporation.

Tuesday, 31 March
Italian supercar manufacturer Automobili Lamborghini is converting departments of its super sports car production plant in Sant’Agata Bolognese in order to produce surgical masks and protective plexiglass shields. The masks will be donated to the Sant’Orsola-Malpighi Hospital in Bologna to be used in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Spanish carmaker SEAT is collaborating with the healthcare system by making automated ventilators with adapted windscreen wiper motors. Spain is one of the countries which has been badly impacted impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. The project is taking shape with gears printed at SEAT, gearbox shafts and the adapted motor of a windscreen wiper. The aim was to make ventilators of the highest quality, and the result is the OxyGEN. Designed in collaboration with Protofy.XYZ, they are being assembled at the SEAT facilities.

Wednesday, 1 April
Air Liquide, Groupe PSA, Valeo, Schneider Electric get cracking, to meet the French government's request for 10,000 respirators, more than a hundred respirators per week will be delivered until mid-April, and then more than 1,000 per week.

Mercedes-Benz India has decided to set up a temporary hospital with medical facilities and isolation wards for Covid-19 patients. The newly developed medical facility is located in Mhalunge-Ingale village, Chakan Khed, and will have isolation wards with a capacity to take care of 1,500 patients.

GM launched a rapid-response project to produce face masks at scale on Friday, March 20. Seven days later, the team had produced their first sample on the new production line. By next week, GM expects to deliver its first 20,000 masks to frontline workers. The team expects to have 20,000 masks ready for delivery on Wednesday, April 8. Once the line is running at full speed, it will be able to produce up to 50,000 masks every day – or up to 1.5 million masks a month.

Thursday, 2 April
The Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and Volkswagen Group Components are extending the suspension of production at their German plants for a further five working days especially as a result of the continued fall in demand for vehicles and the challenges still faced by the supply chain. 

In light of the Covid-19 outbreak, Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) announced that it will provide Personal Protective Equipment kits to the medical staff and public health workforce in Karnataka. Further, the company will also distribute daily food rations and essential kits to daily wage workers through Karnataka’s local district administration in Ramanagara near Bangalore. These initiatives are in continuation of TKM’s relentless efforts to counter the epidemic, making a key contribution to the Government’s fight against the epidemic.


It is estimated that over 25,000 executives working at India Auto Inc are currently working from home to contain the spread of Covid-19 contagion. 

According to Animesh Kumar, Director of Automotive Consulting at GlobalData, a leading research and consulting company, “Most of these employees are from key original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), including Ford, Tata Motors, Mahindra, Volkswagen, FCA, Renault, Volvo and MG Motor. While factory workers will continue to operate in plants, it will not be ‘business as usual’. OEMs are trying their best to give safe working environment to factory workers and other employees in key operational roles in order to ensure that supply chain does not get ‘further’ impacted. Automakers, including Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai Motors India, Toyota Kirloskar Motors and Tata Motors have put in place several measures such as thermal screening, business travel restrictions, maintaining physical distance and suspension of biometric attendance systems, to prevent the exposure of their workforce."

“These steps have been warranted by the sudden spike in the confirmed Covid-19 cases globally and in India. Though the confirmed cases to the overall population ratio indicates that India has so far managed to control the outbreak better than most of the countries, there are concerns regarding undetected cases. Moreover, in India, the highest number of cases has been reported in Maharashtra, a state which is a major automotive hub.

“The automotive supply chain in India has been impacted due to the disruption in availability of auto components and the impact is being felt across all segments -- passenger vehicles, commercial vehicles, two- and three-wheelers, and electric vehicles. A large portion of the components imported from China are sold in aftermarket and it would impact the aftermarket segment as well as the repairs and maintenance markets."

Inputs on overseas automakers from Autocar UK


Covid-19 Impact: India Auto Inc to lose over Rs 2,300 crore for each day of closure

Coronavirus will leave behind a global recession: Anand Mahindra

Coronavirus hits supply chain, destabilises BS VI production at Indian OEMs​


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