Auto assembly lines around the world have suspended (or are in the process of suspending) operations, especially around Europe. Production in the U.S. has also begun the process of putting things on hold again. Even plants in Southeast Asia have announced temporary shutdowns as well.
As parts of the world are in lockdown, one country's auto sector has begun the process of restarting. That country is China, and several automakers have reopened not just their production lines, but also their dealerships. Even Wuhan, the epicenter of the pandemic, will be ending their lockdown soon.
Japan's big three, Honda, Nissan, and Toyota, have resumed operations in China. Honda says that they are gradually recovering from the crisis and report that their supply chain was largely unaffected. Nissan, on the other hand, has jump-started their factories and most of their employees are back in the office. As for Toyota, it's back to regular programming for them and reports that 98% of their dealerships are now open.
Volkswagen, the longest-running and largest foreign manufacturer in China have resumed production in most of its plants in the country. The German automaker isn't going all out just yet, still employing a single shift in the operational factories. However, their suppliers are said to be at full operation, so expect them to revert back to normal operations soon. Another major manufacturer in China is SAIC, which builds MG and Maxus vehicles and also assembles several Volkswagen models. They have picked up where they left off with all production lines open. SAIC does have a contingency plan in place but did not disclose it.
PSA Group (Peugeot, Citroen, DS), whose assembly line is in ground zero of the pandemic, has resumed operations. Fiat Chrysler has also reported that 90 percent of their dealerships and 95 percent of their staff are back in the workforce. On the other hand, Ford is still taking precautions by limiting the travel of employees from Wuhan and Hubei. Ford did say that since they have restarted, they are almost at 100% capacity. Tesla is said to be back on track as well.
Last but not least are the luxury brands. BMW, Mercedes-Benz (Daimler AG), Jaguar Land Rover and Volvo have all been in the process of rolling out cars from their Chinese lines. BMW was among the first to restart, followed by Jaguar Land Rover. Volvo eventually followed suit while Mercedes-Benz recently just begun getting back to manufacturing.
It may look dire now but seeing automakers starting their recovery in China could be a good indication for the industry, as well as the world. Bouncing back from a pandemic is no easy task, but if one major economy is standing up again, then, hopefully, the rest of the world will follow.