Coronavirus and plant restarts: The automakers returning to work – CNET

FCA Sevel plant returns to work

A worker at FCA’s Sevel plant in Italy uses a newly installed hand sanitizing station.


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In March, the auto industry, like so many other industries, hit the pause button. Companies around the world halted car production and sent workers home to stop the spread of the coronavirus, which causes COVID-19. Now, as the world begins to get a handle on the virus, automakers have begun to restart production.

Just as we saw in our coronavirus plant shutdown list, the first automakers to restart production are in Europe. We’ll update this list as more automakers return to work and start building cars.


As of April 29, Porsche began the process of ramping up to restart production on May 4. The automaker said after weeks of supply chain bottlenecks, it’s now possible to build cars again, though it originally shut its two factories down to slow the spread of COVID-19.

In the weeks to come, Porsche will gradually increase production to full capacity. When production kicks begins on May 4, work will focus on “task-specific jobs” to start. Workers will be required to keep a safe distance from one another and wear face masks it certain areas of the plants.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

On April 28, FCA announced work restarted at its Sevel factory in Atessa, Italy, a joint-venture with the company’s soon-to-be merger partner, PSA Group. The plant’s responsible for building commercial vehicles in Europe and it’s a positive sign overall. Italy quickly became the European epicenter for the coronavirus pandemic. Every worker will receive a new mask and gloves daily and the plant is equipped with numerous disinfecting stations and new elements to enforce social distancing.


The German automaker said on April 27 it restarted production at its plant in Wolfsburg, Germany. There, the automaker began a slow ramp up of production at about 15% of its capacity. Next week, production will increase to 40% capacity. VW added that some 2,600 suppliers also restarted production to support the plant. VW originally halted production in early March.


After shutting down all operations on March 16, Renault restarted production at a factory in Slovenia on April 28, Automotive News Europe reports. For now, the factory will run a single day shift and full production will begin on May 11.


The Swedish luxury carmaker said on April 27 it restarted production on April 20. Its plant in Torslanda, Sweden, remains operational and the company installed modifications to work stations to adhere to social distancing guidelines.

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