Coronavírus. Toyota suspende produção em Portugal

Grupo japonês encerra unidade de Ovar até 27 de março. É o terceiro construtor a suspender atividade em Portugal, devido ao surto do novo coronavírus.

in Rádio Renascença, por Sandra Afonso, 17-03-2020 

A Toyota é o terceiro construtor automóvel a suspender a produção em Portugal. Depois da PSA de Mangualde e da Autoeuropa em Palmela, agora é a Toyota em Ovar que anuncia uma paragem temporária, deivo ao surto do novo coronavírus.

O grupo japonês decidiu encerrar as fábricas de França e Portugal, segundo avança um porta voz da Toyota, citado pela Bloomberg. Em Portugal a produção deverá retomar dia 27, em França o regresso ao trabalho está marcado para o final do mês, dia 31.

A Toyota emprega em Portugal 190 pessoas e tem capacidade para produzir 3 mil carros por ano, por turno.

A PSA de Mangualde decidiu para já suspender a produção até dia 27 deste mês, uma decisão que se estende a todas as unidades na Europa. A Autoeuropa anunciou hoje uma paragem até dia 29 de março.


Coronavirus: EU auto industry faces unprecedented crisis

The effect of the coronavirus on society and the global economy is unprecedented, with grave consequences for the automobile industry. Indeed, most of the members of the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) have already announced temporary closures of plants due to collapsing demand, supply shortages, and government measures, and are facing cases of corona infections and quarantines among their employees.

in ACEA, 20-03-2020

“It is clear that this is the worst crisis ever to impact the automotive industry,” stated Eric-Mark Huitema, ACEA Director General. “With all manufacturing coming to a standstill and the retail network effectively closed, the jobs of some 14 million Europeans are now at stake. We call for strong and coordinated actions at national and EU level to provide immediate liquidity support for automobile companies, their suppliers and dealers.”

Huitema: “We appreciate the policy measures that have already been announced, which will provide much needed immediate support for employees and companies alike. But we now also need an urgent dialogue with the President of the European Commission to do two things.

“Firstly, to take concrete measures to avoid irreversible and fundamental damage to the sector with a permanent loss of jobs, capacity, innovation and research capability. Secondly, Europe should prepare to stimulate the recovery of our sector, which will be a key contributor to the accelerated recovery of the European economy at large.”

“We stand ready to work with the European Commission, national governments and other stakeholders to navigate through this unfolding crisis,” Huitema stressed.

Amid the unfolding situation, it is also important to keep the production and supply of spare parts going, as well as vehicle service networks. This is essential not only for the maintenance of vital logistics, but also for the work of emergency services like ambulances, firefighters, law enforcement, relief organisations and other public (medical) services.

Huitema: “The free flow of medicines, food, fuels, equipment and supply parts across the EU must be guaranteed under all circumstances.”

Across the European Union, vehicle manufacturers operate some 229 vehicle assembly and production plants, directly employing 2.6 million Europeans in manufacturing. The wider auto sector provides indirect and direct jobs for 13.8 million people in the EU. “The health of those people that are the backbone of our industry, and their families, is paramount to Europe’s automobile manufacturers,” said Mr Huitema.


Jaguar Land Rover, Bentley to suspend UK production

Jaguar Land Rover and Bentley will temporarily suspend production at their UK manufacturing facilities to curb the coronavirus’ spread.

in Automotive News Europe / Reuters, 20-03-2020

Jaguar Land Rover said it will halt output next week and it intends to resume production at the facilities in the week of April 20. The company has thee car plants and an engine plant in England.

The automaker’s manufacturing plants in Brazil and India are continuing their operations, the company said in an emailed statement.

The Tata Motors-owned automaker said on Wednesday it would suspend production at its plant in Nitra, Slovakia, from Friday due to the pandemic.

Bentley said it will stop production at its factory in Crewe, England, from the end of Friday for four weeks.

The Volkswagen Group ultraluxury brand builds about 11,000 vehicles a year. It said the move was to protect the health of its workforce and due to accelerating constraints on activity and declining demand in some markets.

The Crewe factory should reopen on April 20, CEO Adrian Hallmark told Reuters, just as the automaker had returned to profitability last year after a difficult 2018.

“We were all set up for a gangbusters 2020, the first two months of the year have been very strong … and then the coronavirus hits us,” he said.

“Any ideas of glory and big profits that we had have been tempered significantly but having said that, we really don’t know how it’s going to play out.”

Bentley swung to a 65 million euros operating profit last year from a 288 million loss the year before, VW Group said in a statement on March 17. Its sales revenue was 2.1 billion euros and the brand achieved a 3.1 percent operating return on sales.

Automotive News Europe contributed to this report


Volvo to stop output at Swedish and U.S. factories

Volvo will temporarily stop production at its three plants in Sweden and its U.S. factory.

in Automotive News Europe, by Douglas A. Bolduc, 20-03-2020

All four plants will be closed from March 26 until April 14 as Volvo joins other automakers and suppliers in stopping production to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, the company said Friday.

Volvo’s assembly plant in Torslanda, near Gothenburg, makes the XC90 and XC60 SUVs and the V90 station wagon. Volvo builds its four-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines in Skovde, while it produces body components in Olofstrom.

The S60 sedan is produced at the automaker’s factory in Ridgeville, near Charleston, South Carolina.

On Tuesday, Volvo stopped production at its plant in Ghent, Belgium, where it makes the XC40 SUV and V60 station wagon.

Production at Ghent is scheduled to resume on April 6, Volvo said

Earlier this month Volvo reopened its four manufacturing plants in China after an extended closure period caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

“Today’s showroom traffic is indicating a return to normal in China’s car market, which is clearly demonstrating the advantages of being a globally balanced company,” Volvo said.

Volvo makes the vehicles in Chengdu, Luqiao and Daqing and builds engines in Zhangjiakou.

Along with the plant shutdowns, people working at the company’s European and U.S. offices will primarily work from home starting March 26 and working hours will be reduced.

Volvo hopes the multiple actions it is taking “will protect jobs and ensure the automaker’s operation can return to normal as soon as it is possible and safe,” the company said.

Added Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson: “Our primary concerns are the health of our employees and the future of our business. With the help of valuable supporting programs put in place by governments and authorities, we have been able to act quickly.”


McLaren joins race to make ventilators to help virus patients

McLaren Automotive is among companies looking into rapid production of basic ventilators that could help patients with breathing problems suffered as a result of the coronavirus.

in Automotive News Europe, by Nick Gibbs, 19-03-2020

The UK supercar-maker is forming a team “with a view to see if these ventilators can be produced rapidly and relatively simply,” a spokesman told Automotive News Europe.

At present the plan would not be for McLaren to manufacture the ventilators, but rather the company would offer its design expertise, the spokesman said.

McLaren’s team is one of three consortiums being assembled by engineering specialists to tackle a potential shortage of the ventilators in the UK.

Nissan will lead another while aerospace component specialist Meggitt will lead a third, Reuters reported.

McLaren is looking at how to design a simple version of a ventilator and Nissan is working with others to support existing ventilator producers.

Meggitt, which builds components including oxygen systems for civil aerospace and military fighter programs, is leading a consortium with engineers GKN, Thales and Renishaw.

European aerospace group Airbus is working across the process to see if its 3D printing or production facilities can be of use.

“The aim is for there to be a prototype in two weeks and for manufacturing to start in four weeks,” one person familiar with the situation told Reuters.

Two groups are acting to coordinate the program — PA Consulting and High Value Manufacturing Catapult, which was set up by the government to bridge the gap between British business and its powerful academic sector to turn ideas into income.

Airbus said these were unprecedented times and it would help where it could. “Our engineers and technology teams are investigating the practicalities of how we might best support the design, manufacturing and assembly of critical medical equipment,” a spokesman said.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday urged manufacturers to help make health equipment including ventilators. The government has approached carmakers including Jaguar Land Rover, Ford, Honda, PSA-owned Vauxhall, Bentley, Aston Martin and Nissan in the last few days.

In the U.S., General Motors and Ford said they are exploring ways to support production of medical equipment including ventilators.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has also said his company is also prepared to help. “We will make ventilators if there is a shortage,” Musk wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.

“Ventilators are not difficult, but cannot be produced instantly,” Musk said in another Tweet.

Experts are skeptical about whether automotive companies can help.

It would be a significant task to tool up production lines and train workers to assemble and test the products, according to Robert Harrison, professor of automation systems at the University of Warwick in central England.

Many countries are trying to buy ventilators, which are used to keep people with coronavirus alive if they struggle to breathe.

Reuters contributed to this report


Ferrari and Fiat look at helping Italy make ventilators in virus crisis

Italian carmakers Ferrari and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles are in talks with the nation’s biggest ventilator manufacturer to help to boost production of the life-saving machines that are urgently needed in the coronavirus crisis, company officials said on Thursday.

Italy is at the epicenter of the pandemic and its government has embarked on a big expansion of the number of intensive care beds, many of which will require ventilators to keep patients alive by taking over breathing functions.

Siare Engineering in northern Italy, where deaths are nearing 3,000 and climbing sharply, is in talks with Fiat Chrysler, Ferrari and Italian partsmaker Marelli to make some parts, source others and to possibly help with the assembly of ventilators.

Gianluca Preziosa, Siare’s chief executive, said the two industries share some expertise, with both the ventilator business and automakers relying heavily on electronics as well as pneumatics.

“We are talking to Fiat Chrysler, Ferrari and Marelli to try to understand if they can lend us a hand in this process for the electronics part,” he told Reuters.

Rome has asked Siare to ramp up its monthly production of ventilators from 160 to 500 after the virus crisis has left the country’s healthcare system in acute distress, Preziosa said.

A spokesman for Exor, parent of both FCA and Ferrari, said that meetings with Siare had taken place on Thursday to study the feasibility of the idea.

He said that two main options were being considered: either to help Siare engineer a capacity increase at its plant, with the support of technicians provided by FCA and Ferrari, or outsource production of ventilator parts to the carmakers’ facilities.

A source familiar with the matter said that Ferrari would be ready to start manufacturing ventilator parts in its Maranello headquarters, which is close to the Siare factory, but that the luxury carmaker had yet to make a final decision.

Siare’s Preziosa said that another advantage of partnering with carmakers was their purchasing power, making them more likely to obtain parts that his small firm was struggling to secure amid coronavirus-related disruption to global supply chains.

Ventilators, which move air in and out of the lungs, could be the difference between life and death for coronavirus patients suffering breathing difficulties.

But getting new production up to speed will not be easy, some in the manufacturing industry said.

“Precision milling and 3D printing techniques could help manufacture complex parts,” said Rene-Christopher Wollmann, program and platform director at Automobili Pininfarina, which uses virtual design software to build electric hypercars.

“But this depends on how much know-how existing manufacturers (of ventilators) are prepared to share about the design of such a machine,” he added. “Another bottleneck will be assembling such machines under conditions which are adequate for the medical industry.”

The idea of using automakers to supply medical equipment got started in China, where electric car maker BYD earlier this month began turning out 5 million face masks and 300,000 bottles of hand sanitizer a day. The Shenzhen-based automaker is backed by U.S. investor Warren Buffett.

Since then the idea has spread to other industries and countries.

European aerospace group Airbus is working across its processes to see if its 3D printing or production facilities can be of use.

“The aim is for there to be a (ventilator) prototype in two weeks and for manufacturing to start in four weeks,” one person familiar with the situation at the company said.

In the United States, the federal government is in talks with Detroit auto giants General Motors Co and Ford Motor Co about how they can help expand ventilator production, the companies and White House officials said on Wednesday.


Fábrica no Tramagal da Mitsubishi Fuso suspende produção a partir de dia 23

A fábrica da Mitsubishi Fuso no Tramagal vai suspender a produção a partir da próxima segunda-feira, 23 de março, durante duas semanas.

in Negócios, por Pedro Curvelo, 19-03-2020

A suspensão da laboração “visa prevenir a expansão do covid-19”, assinala o comunicado.

Esta medida já era esperada após o grupo Daimler ter decidido parar a produção na maioria das suas fábricas na Europa.

A Mitsubishi Fuso indica que “os serviços mínimos essenciais manter-se-ão, em especial através do recurso ao trabalho remoto”.

A paragem manter-se-á até 5 de abril, podendo ser prolongada caso a reavaliação da situação assim o aconselhe.

“Apesar de até ao momento não ter sido detetado nenhum caso de covid-19, a administração da fábrica procura desta forma minimizar o risco de propagação do vírus, refere a empresa, que admita ainda que “o encerramento de alguns fornecedores importantes também inviabiliza a continuação do normal funcionamento da cadeia de abastecimento”.

A fábrica conta com cerca de 400 trabalhadores e está integrada na Daimler Truck.

A empresa dispõe de uma equipa “em permanente monotorização e reavaliação da situação, sendo que novas medidas podem ser tomadas sempre que necessário. O reatamento da normal produção acontecerá logo que as condições melhorem”, conclui o comunicado.


Hyundai, Kia to suspend European output for two weeks

Hyundai and Kia will suspend production at their eastern European factories for two weeks, starting on Monday.

in Automotive News Europe, by Andrea Malan, 19-03-2020

Hyundai said the closure of national borders throughout Europe has created logistical challenges for employees and suppliers while demand for automobiles is declining.

Hyundai’s plant in Nosovice in the Czech Republic builds the i30 compact car, the Kona full-electric crossover and Tucson SUV.

Kia builds the Ceed compact-car range and Sportage SUV in Zilina, Slovakia.

Reuters contributed to this report


ANFAC y SERNAUTO valoran positivamente el paquete de medidas del Gobierno

ANFACSERNAUTO Faconauto han lanzado un comunicado conjunto valorando, en representación del sector del automóvil, las medidas económicas y laborales decretadas por el Gobierno estos últimos días. Dicha valoración ha sido positiva puesto que, afirman, las medidas se orientan “a la necesidad de salvaguardar el empleo y el tejido productivo y empresarial al tiempo que se siguen combatiendo los efectos del coronavirus”.

in AutoRevista, 19-03-2020

Las patronales sectoriales consideran que mecanismos como la agilización de los ERTEs definidos por fuerza mayor, la suspensión de las cotizaciones o las medidas crediticias con avales públicos pueden contribuir a mitigar el fuerte impacto que la crisis va a tener sobre el sector de la automoción. El sector es, asímismo, consciente de que la gravedad de la situación obligará a corto plazo a tomar nuevas medidas económicas y sociales, situación para la cual se ponen “a disposición del Gobierno y de los sindicatos para trabajar en aquellas medidas precisas y necesarias para el sector, de tal forma que repercutan positivamente y lo antes posible en la batalla contra la pandemia”, con el objetivo firme de proteger a la sociedad al tiempo que se mantienen los puestos de trabajo y la actividad empresarial.

Por último, las patronales de la automoción ofrecen su colaboración “para desarrollar nuevos planes de medidas que impulsen toda la cadena de valor y que, de modo urgente, permitan preparar y acometer la senda de la recuperación tan pronto como sea posible”.


BRASIL | Anfavea comunica que todas as montadoras analisam paralisação

Entidade reúne 26 montadoras de automóveis, veículos comerciais e máquinas agrícolas e rodoviárias. Volvo é a primeira a anunciar a paralisação após comunicado.

in AutoIndústria, 19-03-2020

Depois de Mercedes-Benz e General Motors anunciarem que paralisarão suas atividades a partir do fim do mês, a Anfavea, Associação Nacional dos Fabricantes de Veículos Automotores, divulgou nota oficial, no início da noite desta quinta-feira (19), na qual afirma que todas as suas associadas analisam e se preparam para a interrupção da produção de veículos.

A entidade, que reúne 26 fabricantes de automóveis, comerciais leves, caminhões, ônibus, máquinas agrícolas e rodoviárias — um quadro total de 126 mil empregados —, diz que o movimento se deve ao agravamento do surto do coronavíus.

Não cita qualquer problema de abastecimento de componentes, ainda que importantes fornecedores de autopeças estejam com suas atividades paradas ou em ritmo lento na Europa e, principalmente, na China.

O país asiático, epicentro da pandemia, é o maior fornecedor de autopeças para o Brasil. Respondeu por 13% dos cerca de US$ 13,2 bilhões em componentes trazidos de outros países em 2019.

No ano passado, as montadoras fabricaram mais de 2,9 milhões de automóveis e veículos comerciais, além de  53,1 mil máquinas. Para 2020, as projeções da Anfavea são positivas: 3 milhões de automóveis, crescimento de 7%, 160 mil veículos pesados, mais 13,4%, e 56 mil máquinas agrícolas e rodoviárias, evolução de 5,4 %.

Minutos depois do comunicado da Anfavea, a Volvo divulgou nota divulgando decisão de suspender a produção na fábrica de Curitiba (PR) por quatro semanas a partir de 30 de março. A interrupção envolve 3,7 mil funcionários que trabalham no complexo fabril, onde produz caminhões, ônibus, motores, câmbios e cabines.

A íntegra do comunicado da Anfavea:

“Com foco na segurança e na saúde dos familiares e funcionários das montadoras associadas à ANFAVEA (Associação Nacional dos Fabricantes de Veículos Automotores), informamos que, em função do agravamento da crise gerada pelo COVID-19, todas as nossas empresas estão analisando e se preparando para tomar ações de paralisação das suas fábricas no Brasil, e discutindo caso a caso com seus respectivos sindicatos”.