Image credits: Volkswagen
/
News Article

Have European Automakers Reached the End of the Tunnel?

By Alejandro Enríquez | Tue, 04/21/2020 - 16:42

Last week, Audi and Hyundai announced plans to resume production. Throughout this week, most European OEMs are expected to follow suit.

April saw almost a zero-vehicle production in Europe as top manufacturers halted operations due to lockdown measures established in different countries. However, Volkswagen, Volvo, Renault, Hyundai, Toyota and Audi are restarting operations before the end of the month.

Volkswagen announced in a statement that two plants are resuming operations on April 20, followed by others in Portugal, Spain, Russia and even the US on April 27. "With the decisions by the federal and state governments in Germany and the loosening of restrictions in other European states, conditions have been established for the gradual resumption of production," said Ralf Brandstätter, COO of the Volkswagen brand. The statement comes after Chancellor Angela Merkel announced Germany's "interim success" in maintaining COVID-19 in check.

With the decisions by the federal and state governments in Germany and the loosening of restrictions in other European states, conditions have been established for the gradual resumption of production,"

Ralf Brandstätter, COO of the Volkswagen brand.

Hyundai was among the few to restart operations on April 13 at its plants in Russia and the Czech Republic. The company will restart operations in Turkey. Toyota has also restarted operations today at its plant in France with daily production of 50 vehicles, a 5 percent capacity from its usual 1,000 units a day. Notably, Toyota is the only automaker to reopen in the country, as PSA Group and Renault still face tension with unions, according to Automotive News Europe. French manufacturer Renault, however, has already restarted operations in Portugal and Romania will follow throughout this week.

Audi had already resumed production last week at its facility in Hungary, home to the recently launched e-tron's engine. Volvo also resumed operations as of April 20 at the Toslanda plant in Sweden. The company dialoged with labor unions to open not only production but offices at the company’s headquarters in Sweden.

Ferrari and Porsche are also expected to restart operations before April ends. Ferrari has launched the strictest health protocols as it aims to test all employees for COVID-19 before they can return to their job. For those that test positive health assistance will be provided. Has Europe finally seen the end of the crisis?

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
Hyundai, Toyota, Volkswagen, Volvo Electrive, Financial Times, Automotive News Europe
Photo by:   Volkswagen
Alejandro Enríquez Alejandro Enríquez Journalist and Industry Analyst