The European automobile industry is shutting down as the coronavirus pandemic rages

  1. Volkswagen: The world’s biggest automaker is temporarily closing plants in Spain, Portugal, Slovakia and Italy  as well its German factories. The facilities produce cars under brands including Volkswagen, Audi, SEAT, Ducati, Porsche and Lamborghini. Factories in Italy that make Lamborghini super cars and Ducati motorcycles will also be idled . Volkswagen, which also owns brands including Skoda, Audi, Porsche and Bugatti, delivered 10.8 million vehicles to customers in 2019, more than any other carmaker. Roughly 44% of the group's 668,000 employees live in Germany, where the company is a leading force in the country's huge manufacturing sector.
  2. Renault:  Renault shut all 12 of its French plants in accordance with that country’s very strict lockdown. The continuity of production activities at the Group’s plants in other European countries depends on the situation in each country.
  3. PSA Group:, The parent of brands including Peugeot, Citröen, Opel and Vauxhall is closing plants in France, Spain, Poland, the U.K., Portugal, Germany and Slovakia, until March 27.
  4. Fiat Chrysler: Fiat Chrysler has suspended production at factories in Italy, Serbia and Poland until March 27.
  5. Ferrari: Ferrari has suspended production at its Italian Formula 1 and road car plants.
  6. Toyota: Toyota, the world's second biggest carmaker after Volkswagen has halted operations at two plants in France and Portugal. 
  7. BMW: BMW is preparing to shut plants in Rosslyn, South Africa and Europe until April 19
  8. Daimler: Daimler is suspending  most production of Mercedes vehicles in Europe for two weeks initially.

The auto sector is at the heart of Europe's manufacturing industry, and provides direct and indirect employment to nearly 14 million people, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association.

The plant closures, snarled supply chains and weaker consumer confidence that accompany the coronavirus pandemic will push the auto industry even deeper into recession this year.

The number of vehicles sold across major global markets fell by about 4% to 90.3 million in 2019. That's down from a peak of 95.2 million in 2017. The sales decline is making it even tougher for the industry to generate the funds needed to meet the huge challenge of ditching the internal combustion engine and tackling the climate crisis. The initial coronavirus outbreak had already forced many global automakers to shutter factories in China, the world's largest market for vehicles. Data published last week showed that sales in the country dropped nearly 80% in February compared to the previous year.


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