European car factories closed over concerns coronavirus

Several car manufacturers in Europe have closed their factories until at least the end of March due to the coronavirus crisis. Many of these companies transport their wagons by rail. The car industry was already affected by the closure of factories in China and is facing another blow now Europe has become the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak.

PSA, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Renault, Michelin and also Volkswagen have closed their factories in Europe at least until the end of March. At Renault, the closure even applies until further notice. At the Belgian Audi factory, workers have stopped work themselves. According to the latest reports, Volvo in Ghent, an important rail client, is still operating. VDL Nedcar in Born also keeps its business running. This was reported by sister publication Automobiel Management.

Crisis

The car manufacturing industry is facing harsh times since the outbreak of the coronavirus. Many factories rely on parts from China, where factories remained closed for a large part of January and February. Some companies reached out to alternative sourcing plants in the Far East, such as in South Korea and Japan. However, also here the production was impacted by the coronavirus.

Many car manufacturers opt for rail for the transport of car parts or finished products across Europe and between continents. Rail has become even more important as a modality with the current uncertainty of supply. When factories in China re-opened, European factories wanted to have their goods as fast as possible.

Author: Majorie van Leijen

Majorie van Leijen is editor of RailFreight.com, online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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