Major car manufacturers getting production lines rolling again

Damian Moran

Reporter:

Damian Moran

Major car manufacturers all set to get production lines rolling again

Employees are back working on the SEAT production lines in Spain

Two major car manufacturers have announced that they will be getting their respective production lines rolling again in the coming days with one already back up and running.

Ford and Porsche announced a timeline to reopen and each will have new measures in place to deal with Covid-19 in the workplaces.

Seat has already reopened its Martorell, Barcelona and Componentes plants is Spain. The return to activity will take place gradually to apply the necessary health and safety measures. This decision also aims to contribute to reactivating employment at SEAT and supplier companies to limit the economic impact of the health crisis.

As part of the reopening process, SEAT announced it will carry out PCR tests on its 15,000 Spanish employees to ensure their health and safety and avoid COVID-19 infections. PCR diagnostic tests are the most reliable to identify whether the person screened has contracted the COVID-19 virus.

Ford has announced that manufacturing will resume on May 4 in a phased approach at Saarlouis Vehicle Assembly Operations and Cologne Assembly Operations and Engine Plant in Germany; Valencia Vehicle Assembly Operations in Spain; and Craiova Vehicle Assembly Operations and Engine Plant in Romania.

Production will restart at Valencia Engine Plant in Spain on May 18, while the resumption date for Ford’s Dagenham and Bridgend Engine Plants in the United Kingdom will be confirmed at a later date.  

“We need to prepare for a new environment once we are past the initial peak of the Coronavirus pandemic in Europe, with the key priority in our ‘return to work’ plan being the implementation of Ford’s global standards on social distancing and strengthened health and safety protocols in the workplace. Our employees need to know that we are taking the appropriate steps to safeguard their well-being at work,” said Stuart Rowley, president, Ford of Europe.

Production will start at a low level, prioritizing sold customer vehicle orders from dealers, and will gradually be ramped-up over the next few months before full production is resumed. The production plans take into account supplier readiness, national movement restrictions and, Ford dealer sales sites reopening in key markets, as well as customer demand.

“Maintaining the health of our workforce is the top priority when restarting production and returning to work at our plants,” said Martin Hennig, chairman, Ford European Works Council.  “Our union leaders across Europe have agreed on far-reaching measures for the best possible protection for our employees, which go beyond the nationally prescribed measures and apply to all our plants in Europe.”

As from next Monday (4 May), Porsche is restarting production on a site-and task-specific basis. All the required measures have been taken in advance to guarantee the maximum possible safety for employees and so that production can be increased in stages up to full capacity. As production is ramped up at the main factory in Zuffenhausen and at the site in Leipzig, all employees will now resume work step by step. The adapted processes in production, logistics and procurement have been agreed with the Works Council and the Health Management department. The requirements of the respective authorities will also be observed.

“The restart is an important signal – for our employees as well as for our customers. We have monitored and analysed the situation very carefully right from the start and flexibly adapted processes. Now is the right time to look forward with optimism and to resume work – subject to special precautions,” says Albrecht Reimold, Member of the Executive Board for Production and Logistics at Porsche AG.