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PSA, Honda and BMW to resume UK manufacturing

PSA, Honda and BMW have become the latest carmakers to announce production restarts in the UK ahead of the reopening of car showrooms on 1 June.

Swindon currently produces 150,000 cars per year, and has around 3,500 employees

Honda is to restart production at Swindon during the week beginning 1 June

BMW Group is to restart operations at its Swindon facility from Friday 15 May while work will resume at the Mini Cowley plant from Monday 18 May; the same date that Ford is restart production its Dagenham and Bridgend engine plants.

Honda has also announced that it will recommence production operations at Swindon during the week commencing 1 June 2020; around the same time as Nissan at Sunderland.

PSA is also planning for a “progressive and secured” restart of van manufacturing at its Luton site from 18 May after halting operations on 19 March. Its new health measures have been audited and shared with trade bodies.

Yann Vincent, EVP manufacturing of Groupe PSA, said: “Our enhanced measures protocol offers a high level of protection to our employees and is the first criterion for restarting our manufacturing sites. As industrial activity is driven by commercial activity, which is our second criterion, we are gradually and securely relaunching our industrial system to manufacture the cars expected by our customers. These two criteria will guide our decisions for the coming weeks and months.”

Work is also underway for the return to work at the Vauxhall Ellesmere Port plant, although a date is yet to be announced.

Toyota is also still to reveal a start date for its Burnaston vehicle plant, although its Deeside engine plant has gradually resumed operations as of 13 May.

The news of the production restarts follows the publication of the Government’s roadmap on lifting coronavirus restrictions, including for the overall UK manufacturing sector, and is being supported by newly published guidance from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) on safe restarts.

Developed in partnership with the Garage Equipment Association (GEA), Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF), Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI), Scottish Motor Trade Association (SMTA), the best-practice advice covers the complete automotive manufacturing environment and is designed to complement the government guidance.

It follows yesterday’s publication of SMMT advice for the safe restart of showrooms, currently due to reopen on 1 June under government guidance.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “The coronavirus crisis has taken a heavy toll on the automotive industry but, as lockdown measures begin to ease, at last there is some light at the end of the tunnel. Global markets are starting to open up and overseas demand for UK-built vehicles, engines and components will follow. However, to accelerate this crucial sector’s recovery we need all parts of the jigsaw to be in place, starting with the reopening of automotive showrooms to drive essential market demand.”

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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. Natalie edits all the Fleet World websites and newsletters, and loves to hear about any latest industry news.