Ford suspends European production ‘for a number of weeks’

Ford is temporarily suspending production at its main manufacturing sites in continental Europe from Thursday in a bid to help contain the spread of coronavirus.

It pointed to the World Health Organisation’s declaration that Europe was now the epicentre of the pandemic as one of the deciding factors.

The firm says the shutdown is expected to last “for a number of weeks depending on pandemic situation, national restrictions, supplier constraints and dealer stock requirements”.

Stuart Rowley, president of Ford of Europe, said: “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.

“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.”

Ford added that component supplies had become increasingly interrupted, while car sales had declined as many dealerships had been forced to close because of local restrictions. It is, however, keeping service centres open, as these are considered ‘an important societal need’.

It confirmed that its Valencia facility in Spain had temporarily been shut down since March 16 after three workers were confirmed with coronavirus, while the factories in Cologne and Saarlouis in Germany, and the Romanian Craiova plant, would close from March 19.

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