In no time at all, Europe quickly became one of the hotspots for Covid-19: as of March 18, Europe has about 75,000 confirmed cases.
In line with this, Ford decided to temporarily suspend all vehicle and engine production at its manufacturing sites in continental Europe in response to the growing impact of the virus.
Effective from since March 19, it is expected that this action will continue for an unknown number of weeks.
“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 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.”
Despite closing its sites, Ford believes that the servicing of vehicles is regarded as an important societal need, which is why Ford dealerships are continuing to provide essential maintenance and service across the continent.
“The Ford vehicle manufacturing sites in Cologne and Saarlouis in Germany, together with the Craiova facility in Romania, will temporarily halt production from Thursday, March 19. Ford’s Valencia assembly and engine facility in Spain already temporarily halted production from Monday, March 16, after three workers were confirmed with coronavirus over the past weekend. Only essential work, such as maintenance and security, will continue onsite,” states their press release. “Impacted employees in Europe are being contacted by their supervisors with more information about their specific site details.”
Although the closure of their sites is only intended for a short period, the exact duration depends on a multitude of factors. The spread of the virus, the government and European Union restrictions on movement, the supplier industry’s ability to provide equipment, and the return of customers to dealerships, many of which are now closed as part of the measures taken at a national level.
Precautionary measures are being enforced to ensure the safety of the skeleton workforce, a small number of employees who are unable to work from home. “It is at difficult times like these when we must stand united and put people first,” added Rowley. “We at Ford will play our part in the weeks ahead to help get through this crisis, reduce its spread and alleviate its effects wherever we can.”