Porsche is suspending production in Europe amid worsening coronavirus outbreak
- Porsche announced it would shut down its European plants, starting Saturday.
- Porsche joins the rest of the European auto industry in idling factories as the coronavirus outbreak intensifies.
- Earlier, Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler, Ford, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the PSA Group, Renault, Ferrari, and Ducati have all announced new shutdowns or continuations of existing closures.
- The VW Group, of which Porsche is a part, and Porsche's stablemate Lamborghini have also announced shutdowns.
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On Wednesday, Porsche announced it would shut down manufacturing in Europe for two weeks as the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak worsens."By taking this step, the sports car manufacturer is responding to the significant acceleration in the rate of infection caused by the coronavirus and the resultant measures implemented by the relevant authorities," the automaker said in a statement.
The shutdown will commence on Saturday, March 21, and involve the plant in Zuffenhausen and a production facility in Leipzig. Porsche said that the action was taken in consultation with the works councils which represent the automaker's unionized workforces at both plants."With these measures, our company contributes to protect the workforce and reduce the spread of the coronavirus," Porsche chairman Oliver Blume said in a statement.
"The actual consequences are not yet predictable. It is therefore too early for forecasts. What is clear is that 2020 will be a very challenging year. We can only overcome the pandemic together and by taking rigorous measures."The company added that the situation will be continuously reassessed.
Europe shutting down
Bill Pugliano/Getty Images
In Europe, the auto industry has moved aggressively to shut down manufacturing operations as the number of identified coronavirus cases has rapidly increased.
This week, Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler as well as Ford, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the PSA Group, Renault, Ferrari, and Ducati have all announced new shutdowns or continuations of existing closures.There is a business justification for the swift drawdown in manufacturing capacity, as automakers anticipate a demand drop in the coming months and as governments order lockdowns of regions and, in the case if Italy, the entire country.
"In addition to the primary protection of the workforce, bottlenecks in global supply chains no longer allow orderly production," Porsche noted in its statement. "At the same time, Porsche is preparing for a decline in demand and securing its financial strength with the decisions made."
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