Volvo suspends car production in Europe and the US

Volvo suspends car production in Europe and the US
Håkan Samuelsson, CEO of Volvo Cars. Photo: Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT
Chinese-owned Swedish auto maker Volvo Cars said Friday it would temporarily halt production at its European and US plants in order to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
“Our primary concerns are the health of our employees and the future of our business,” CEO Håkan Samuelsson said in a statement.
 
The company said there was now a need for “social distancing” in order to reduce the spread of the virus.
 
Production at the carmaker's Belgian plant in Ghent was stopped on Tuesday, and three facilities in Sweden as well as the factory in South Carolina, US, would be halted from March 26th.
 
Office workers would generally work from home as of March 26th with reduced hours.
 
“With the help of valuable supporting programmes put in place by governments and authorities, we have been able to act quickly,” Samuelsson said.
 
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The company said it would re-open the plant in Belgium on April 5th and the other facilities on April 14th.
 
Some 25,000 employees would be affected in Sweden, and 6,500 and 1,500 in Belgium and the US respectively.
 
Earlier this month, the carmaker re-opened its four Chinese factories, after extended closures due to the spread of the new coronavirus in mainland China.
 
“We see very positive signs of a normalisation in our Chinese business. There all our factories are up and running again, our headquarters is open and we also see customers being back in showrooms,” Stefan Elfström, spokesman for Volvo Cars, told AFP.
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