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Honda and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles become latest to idle plants

The list of carmakers suspending operations in Europe and overseas continues to growth, as manufacturers take action on declining demand and the need to protect workers.

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has suspended vehicle production for an anticipated 10 working days

Honda is halting work at its plant in Swindon in the UK, with plans to reopen production on 6 April, depending on advice from government and health authorities, as well as market and supply conditions.

In North America, Honda has been joined by Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler in closing down all of their US factories, with the closures for Ford and GM lasting until at least 30 March.

Recent days had already seen PSA along with Toyota, Volkswagen Passenger Cars and FCA announce temporary halts for European production.

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has now also said it’s idling work, effective immediately and for an anticipated 10 working days. The production sites affected are those in Hannover (T6.1, Amarok and eCrafter), Poznań in Poland (Caddy and T6.1) and Września in Poland (Crafter).

Thomas Sedran, chairman of the VWCV brand’s Board of Management, said: “The coronavirus pandemic is naturally having an impact on our entire business: on supply chains, on our production operation, on sales and on our distribution and service partners. In close consultation with our works councils and within the Group network, we have therefore decided at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles to shut down production at all three sites. This is the only right decision to take, not least so as not to expose our workers to any unnecessary health risk.”

Volkswagen has also put measures in place to help the workforce, including more flexible use of remote working, particular protection of employees in Covid-19 risk groups and meetings being held by Skype or telephone.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.