on movement, production and trade have seen the global automotive industry
grind to a halt. But China, once the epicentre of the Covid-19 outbreak, is
seeing its employees slowly returning to work.
After car sales in China fell 80% in February during the apex of the pandemic, markets a month later are easing back into gear.
China’s bounce-back comes at a time when North American and European factories have halted production amid mass lockdowns.
Chinese factories are in an early re-start stage and increasing output gradually, suggests data released by analysts from Sanford C. Bernstein.
China’s economic output has increased from just under 50% in mid-February to nearly 85% at the end of March, Bloomberg statistics show.
Joint Ventures between Chinese owned Dongfeng Motors and PSA Group have resumed. Workers have picked up tools at the Wuhan and Chengdu plants, which makes Citroen and Peugeot parts for the Asian and European markets.
Work has resumed at Luqiao Plant in Zheijiang Province where Geely-owned Volvo has resumed building its new 400HP electrically powered sedan. Volvo’s Polestar 2, is an all-wheel-drive EV car that is widely considered a direct rival to Tesla’s Model 3.
The Chengdu plant, where the Polestar 1 is made, has introduced measures to maximise factory safety. All employees must pass body temperature screenings, use apps to self-report, wear masks at all times, and adhere to strict social distancing practices. Business flights are still banned and face-to-face meetings are kept to a minimum.
Fiat Chrysler’s JV with Guangzhou Automobile Group is also back up and running. The company confirmed more than 90% of its operations are back to normal.