Ford Production Grinds to a Halt in Europe as Coronavirus Pandemic Grows

Ford closing European plants 1 photo
It is perhaps the most troubling week for the European auto industry in ages. In the span of just a few days, the local production of automobiles was brought to its knees by an enemy so small nobody can see with the naked eye.
After Ferrari and French group PSA announced a halt in production for an undetermined period, it's the turn of American carmaker Ford to do the same. The Blue Oval, whose operations in Valencia had already been stopped on Monday, announced the facilities in Cologne and Saarlouis in Germany, and Craiova in Romania will suffer the same fate.

Citing both concerns for the well being of its employees and the lack of parts and decrease in sale, Ford said all would be shut down on Thursday, March 19, for a number of weeks at least. Last week, the carmaker stopped short of announcing a similar move for its U.S. operations.

“While the impact of coronavirus at our facilities so far has been limited thankfully, its effects on our employees, dealers, suppliers and customers, as well as European society as a whole, is unprecedented,” said in a statement Stuart Rowley, president, Ford of Europe.

“Due to the dramatic impact this ongoing crisis is having on the European market and the supplier industry – together with the recent actions by countries to restrict all but essential travel and personal contact – we are temporarily halting production at our main continental Europe manufacturing sites.”

The biggest shock to the industry is expected to come shortly, as Volkswagen is rumored to follow suit and shut down. It's unclear yet how many of VW's plants and belonging to what brands will be closed, but it's likely it will be all of them.

There seems to be no end in sight for coronavirus pandemic that started at the end of last year in China and quickly spread to Europe, which is presently ground zero in terms of infections and deaths. There are now nearly 190,000 infections around the world and over 7,500 deaths.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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