How Coronavirus is Affecting the Global Auto Industry: Daily Roundup
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How Coronavirus is Affecting the Automotive Industry: Daily Roundup

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How Coronavirus is Affecting the Automotive Industry: Daily Roundup

The outbreak of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), which originated in Wuhan, China in December 2019, has spread uncontrollably. It has gripped the entire world and almost every major part of society has witnessed its implications, which only seem to have begun. The automotive industry has been riding the undercurrents of the pandemic for quite a while now and experts have theorized that this will only continue, and in mammoth proportions, we are quite afraid.

In the first two months of the year, automakers and auto part suppliers all tried to resuscitate the falling production, but with the advent of March, things took a turn. March recorded a rise in global coronavirus cases. Owing to this, multiple countries’ governments and organizations have implemented strict measures to ensure safety.

Declaring coronavirus as a pandemic furthered this initiative as a global lockdown might be in the cards. Automobile and component manufacturing plants are being shut around the world and sales have gone down significantly. Even the autosport events have been cancelled or postponed indefinitely amidst the COVID-19 scares. Starting with the cancellation of the 2020 Geneva Motor Show, which was to open on March 5, several other events followed suit.

A timeline of how Coronavirus disrupted the automotive sector:

Here is a timeline detailing how COVID-19 has impacted the automotive industry around the world with special reference to India.

March 26

  • CARS24′ #Home24 campaign takes social media by storm as thousands changed their profile pictures to HOME24 Logo, urging people to stay at home during the Coronavirus outbreak

March 25

  • CARS24 changes its logo to HOME24, urging citizens to stay home during the 21-day lockdown in India.
  • MG Motor India has pledged to donate Rs 2 crore to government hospitals and health institutions in Gurugram, Haryana, and Halol in Gujarat. 

March 24

  • Nissan Motors suspends production at its Rosslyn plant in Pretoria, South Africa from March 26 until further notice.
  • General Motors announced that it suspended operations at its Talegaon plant due to the COVID-19 outbreak in India.
  • Toyota Kirloskar Motor temporarily halts the production at their plant in Bidadi, Karnataka due to instructions from the Government of Karnataka in wake of Coronavirus outbreak.

March 23

  • KIA Motors India temporarily stops production at their plant in Penukonda, Andra Pradesh until further notice.
  • F1 Azerbaijan GP at Baku is postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Formula 1 earlier announced the season would begin from Azerbaijan Grand Prix which was scheduled to take place on 7 June.
  • Nissan India and Renault India have temporarily suspended operations at its manufacturing facility in Chennai, till further notice.

March 22

  • Hyundai motors suspend operations at their Chennai plant until further notice.
  • Honda Siel stops production at its Greater Noida and Tapukara plants with immediate effect.
  • Maruti Suzuki temporarily stops operations at its production units Gurugram and Manesar in Haryana. Also, their R&D center in Rohtak will remain closed

March 21

  • CARS24 supports PM Narendra Modi’s Jantha Curfew in a bid to fight against the spread of the Covid-19 virus and hence announced the closure of all its branches across India on 22 March, Sunday. 

  • Tata Motors announced the reduction of activities at their Pune plant, the automaker will be ready for plant closure by 23 March in the interest of safety for its employees.

March 20

  • Over 25,000 auto execs working from home in India after PM Narendra Modi talked about the self-imposed Janata Curfew scheduled for March 22. It is estimated that over 25,000 executives working at India Auto Inc are currently working from home to contain the spread of Covid-19.

March 19

  • Both Ford and GM suspend production at their North American factories until at least 30 March.
  • Audi suspends production in its Mexico plant due to supply chain issues.
  • Hyundai suspends production at its US factory in Alabama after a worker tested positive for Covid-19.

March 17

  • Mahindra & Mahindra announced a ‘work from home’ (WFH) policy, from March 18-31, for 7,000 desk-based staffers. However, the company’s manufacturing and R&D operations will continue functioning.
  • CARS24 announces work from home policy for employees working in their headquarters while maintaining high standards of hygiene in its branches PAN India.

  • FCA India, which retails the Jeep brand of SUVs, says it “has permitted over 50% of its staff in its Mumbai and Pune offices to work from home”
  • Volvo Car India announced a ‘work from home’ strategy as a safety measure with immediate effect as part of its overall health and safety plan to mitigate risks associated with Covid-19.

  • Rolls-Royce confirmed it will suspend production at its Goodwood manufacturing plant from Monday, March 23. The suspension is currently planned for two weeks and leads into the already scheduled two-week Easter maintenance shutdown.

  • Porsche announced that it will stop production for an initial period of two weeks.
  • Toyota suspended production at all of its European plants, including its two UK facilities
  • The BMW Group decided to halt production at all of its European factories.
  • Honda decides to suspend production at all of its North American plants for six days from 23 March, due to an “anticipated decline in market demand” with full pay for staff.

March 16

  • The PSA Group decides to stage phased closures of all of its factories across Europe, including the Vauxhall plants at Ellesmere Port and Luton.
  • Ford closes its factory in Valencia, Spain after three workers tested positive for Covid-19
  • Ford India said it is continuing to act in real-time to keep its “people safe and help limit the spread of the virus in communities where we live and work. Therefore, starting Monday, March 16, we have instructed much of our workforce (over 10,000 people) including Ford India and Global Business Services – except those in business-critical roles that cannot be done away from Ford facilities – to work remotely until further notice.

March 15

  • Fiat closes the majority of its European plants until March 27.

March 13

  • Daimler postpones the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting via an email and further suggesting that that the meeting as scheduled on April 1, 2020, has been postponed to a later date in 2020.

March 12

  • The Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix was cancelled just hours before the first practice session was due to begin on Friday after McLaren’s withdrawal due to a team member testing positive for coronavirus.

  • Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) too announced that it has taken preventive measures to safeguard the health and safety of all stakeholders including customers, employees, and dealer partners.

February 28

  • Five days before the 2020 Geneva Motor Show, the organizing body, International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (OICA) cancelled the event. This was after several confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Geneva and other parts of Switzerland came to light.

Early February

  • Auto sales in China are down as much as 92 percent for the first half of February. For the entire first week of February, only 811 cars were sold in China, surprising for a country considered the global auto giant. The export of auto parts gets affected and thus other countries that depended on China for important parts sense trouble.

January 29

  • The auto industry begins to take note. Tesla announces Chinese authorities have ordered the closing of its new plant in Shanghai, scheduled to produce the Model 3. In fact, all across China, automobile, and parts plants are being temporarily shuttered.

January 24

  • The death toll hits 26 and since it is restricted to China, it isn’t identified as a global threat.

January 11

  • The first coronavirus-related death occurs in the Wuhan province of China.

January 7

  • Chinese officials announced they have identified a new virus, initially identified as 2019-nCoV and belonging to the coronavirus family.