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18 Mar, 2020 14:10

BMW & Toyota shut European plants as coronavirus pandemic rages across continent

BMW & Toyota shut European plants as coronavirus pandemic rages across continent

Germany’s BMW and Japan’s Toyota have joined the list of global carmakers closing their manufacturing plants across Europe due to the Covid-19 outbreak which has become a huge blow to the automobile industry.

“From today, we will shut down our European car factories and the Rosslyn factory in South Africa,” BMW’s chief executive, Oliver Zipse, said. The interruption could last until April 19, he explained.

BMW, which makes Minis at its Cowley plant near Oxford, said its 2020 profits will be significantly lower. The company is shutting factories that accounted for half of the 2.6 million cars it has built in 2019.

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Toyota said it had halted output at more of its plants in Europe and Asia due to the spread of the virus. The halt includes its UK plant while factories in Poland, the Czech Republic and Turkey will also be affected.The suspensions follow production halts by Volkswagen, Daimler, Nissan, Ford Motor, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Peugeot maker PSA Group. Aerospace giant Airbus has also announced production closure this week.

Meanwhile, Jaguar Land Rover said it has taken additional measures, including staggered shift patterns and working from home where possible, but had not yet decided to stop work at UK factories.

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“All of our UK plants remain open and we plan to keep building cars until at least the end of the week, subject to the ongoing supply of parts,” the company said, adding “We will continue to closely monitor and review the situation as it evolves.”

The manufacturer will suspend work in Slovakia, with some of its staff still remaining to support the launch of the Land Rover Defender.

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