The pandemic is closing off tens of factories in Europe

As the novel coronavirus - known as COVID-19 - continues to spread across the world, governments are taking extreme measures. Several countries have declared a state of emergency, companies are sending their employees to work from home, while some businesses are shutting down over the pandemic. The outbreak and the panic have also taken a toll on the auto industry, with at least seven major carmakers having decided to halt production in Europe.

Number of Coronavirus Cases at March 17, 2020
Country,Other TotalCases NewCases TotalDeaths NewDeaths TotalRecovered ActiveCases Serious,Critical Tot Cases/1M pop
China 80,881 +21 3,226 +13 68,715 8,940 3,226 56.2
Italy 31,506 +3,526 2,503 +345 2,941 26,062 2,060
Iran 16,169 +1,178 988 +135 5,389 9,792 192.5
Spain 11,409 +1,467 510 +168 1,028 9,871 563 244.0
Germany 8,639 +1,367 23 +6 67 8,549 2 103.1
S. Korea 8,320 +84 81 +6 1,401 6,838 59 162.3
France 6,633 148 12 6,473 400 101.6
USA 5,704 +1,041 97 +11 74 5,533 12 17.2
Switzerland 2,742 +389 27 +8 15 2,700 316.8
UK 1,950 +407 71 +16 52 1,827 20 28.7
Netherlands 1,705 +292 43 +19 2 1,660 45 99.5
Norway 1,452 +104 3 1 1,448 27 267.8
Austria 1,332 +314 4 +1 8 1,320 12 147.9
Belgium 1,243 +185 10 14 1,219 33 107.3
Sweden 1,191 +70 8 +1 1 1,182 12 117.9

Note: According to https://www.worldometers.info/

The first shutdowns were announced in Italy, the country with the worst outbreak outside China.

With almost 28,000 confirmed cases and some 2,200 deaths as of March 17, Italy is struggling to keep things under control.

Shutdowns are also reported in Spain and France, the next most affected European states. Some automakers are also shutting down production in Portugal, the United Kingdom, Poland, and Germany. Europe’s auto industry provides direct and indirect employment to nearly 14 million people, so the impact of the shutdown could be unprecedented. Here’s a list of all the automakers that have chosen to halt production in Europe.

Ferrari

What Automakers Are Affected by the COVID-19 Outbreak?
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The Italian supercar manufacturer runs two factories in Italy, in Modena and Maranello, and both have stopped working on Monday.

The measure was taken to protect its employees against the spread of COVID-19, but it’s also due to Italy being in a lockdown since early March. The lockdown is causing several supply chain problems so continued production is no longer possible. The company’s home region is also among the most affected by the crisis, with thousands of cases and hundreds of deaths confirmed by local authorities.

Operations not linked to production will continue, but the assembly line won’t be restarted until March 27. However, this date may be pushed back if the spread of the novel coronavirus continues at a similar rate.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA)

What Automakers Are Affected by the COVID-19 Outbreak?
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While production at FCA's plants in the U.S. continue as before (this might change soon), the Italian-American giant is closing off four factories in Italy.

These plants produce two popular Fiat models, the Panda and 500X, but also assemble two Jeep vehicles built on shared platforms, the Renegade and the Compass. The shutdown is supposed to be temporary and last around a week. However, since Italy is the most affected European country and COVID-19 cases continue to climb, the shutdown may remain in place until April.

Ford

What Automakers Are Affected by the COVID-19 Outbreak?
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Ford operates quite a few plants in Europe and all could stop functioning due to the coronavirus spread. But for the time being the automaker decided to close just one factory located in Valencia, Spain. The shutdown comes after a worker tested positive for COVID-19 and it’s supposed to last one week. Ford also operates factories in Germany, the United Kingdom, Romania, Turkey, Belgium, and Russia.

Lamborghini

What Automakers Are Affected by the COVID-19 Outbreak?
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Lamborghini is in the same situation as Ferrari. Its factory is located in Emilia-Romagna, the second most affected region, and is also facing supply shortages. The plant in Sant-Agata Bolognese was shut down until March 27.

PSA

What Automakers Are Affected by the COVID-19 Outbreak?
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PSA owns important brands like Peugeot, Citroen, DS, Opel and Vauxhall, so it oversees a big number of plants across Europe. And while other automakers are closing off only a few factories (so far), PSA wants to shut down all of its facilities. The French giant closed two plans in France and Spain on March 16 and an additional eight facilities, located in France, Spain, Germany, England, and Poland on March 17. Three more factories from France, Spain, and Portugal will go offline on March 18. Finally, the facilities in Luton, England, and Slovakia will stop production on March 19. All of them are planned to reopen on March 27, but it all depends on how the COVID-19 pandemic evolves until then.

Renault

What Automakers Are Affected by the COVID-19 Outbreak?
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While PSA chose to shut down factories all over Europe, Renault is suspending production only in France for the time being.

The French automakers runs no fewer than 12 sites in the country that reported 6,664 cases and 148 deaths as of March 17. Renault also shut down plants in Palencia and Valladolid due to supply shortages. The company also has factories in Slovenia, Romania, and Turkey, all of which supply Europe.

Toyota

What Automakers Are Affected by the COVID-19 Outbreak?
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Toyota also stopped producing cars at its plant in Portugal, but it also wants to suspend production in France starting March 18.

Both are scheduled to reopen at the end of the Month. The Japanese carmaker also owns manufacturing facilities in the United Kingdom, Turkey, Germany, Poland and Russia, so we may see additional shutdowns in the coming days or weeks.

Manufacturers to lose millions of euros due to the pandemic

What Automakers Are Affected by the COVID-19 Outbreak?
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Plant shutdowns aren’t the only issues manufacturers have to face due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Sales will also decline as the expected global recession could arrive earlier than planned. Shares are also down following the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. FCA, for instance, lost as much as 19 percent in Italy, while PSA shares plummeted 15 percent in France. Renault shares also dropped by 12 percent. The biggest fear for everyone is that the pandemic is hard to predict at this point, so regional lockdown could extend beyond the month of April.

Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
About the author

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