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Jaguar Land Rover shuts all UK plants over coronavirus spread

Jill Petzinger
Jill Petzinger, Germany Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
Jaguar Land Rover's Halewood Plant in Liverpool, Britain. (Phil Noble/Reuters)

Jaguar Land Rover (TTM) announced on Thursday evening that it will shut down its UK car plants in Solihull, Castle Bromwich, and Halewood from next week until 20 April in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The company’s intention is to resume in the week of 20 April, subject to review of the rapidly-changing circumstances,” the company said in a statement, adding that it was “operating in line with advice from the NHS and Public Health England to minimise the spread of the coronavirus,” and will “work towards an orderly return to production once conditions permit.”

JLR is one of the last car manufacturers to suspend production in Europe, as supply chains stop functioning due to the rapid spread of the virus in the EU. Volvo also announced on Friday that production would temporarily close at its plants in Sweden, Belgium, and the US.

The Volkswagen group (VOW.DE), Fiat Chrysler (FCAU), Toyota (TM), Renault (RNO.PA), and PSA all halted production at manufacturing bases across the EU this week; most of them are planning to remain closed for the next four weeks.

Ford (F) General Motors (GM), Fiat Chrysler and Tesla (TSLA) are also idling their US manufacturing plants, and Ford will close all its facilities in Brazil and Argentina.  

READ MORE: Volkswagen reports 'very successful year' as coronavirus clouds 2020 outlook

Volkswagen and BMW (BMW.DE) both said during their earnings presentations this week that it was impossible to assess the impact that the plant closures would have on their finances for the remainder of 2020.

BMW chief executive Oliver Zipse said that the BMW Group, which includes Mini and Rolls-Royce, expects a “significant decrease” in 2020 global deliveries and pre-tax earnings.

Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess said: “The corona pandemic presents us with unknown operational and financial challenges.”

The one bright spot for automakers currently is that production is starting to resume at their Chinese plants as the coronavirus peak has passed. However, car sales in China crashed in January and February, and car companies may struggle to recoup those losses.