The UK’s largest carmaker, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), will gradually resume auto and engine manufacturing at its Solihull and Wolverhampton plants beginning May 18, the company said in a statement.
The date was chosen to give the JLR time to develop guidelines for a safe return to work.
The company halted production at all facilities across Europe on April 20 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which decimated vehicle sales as consumers, many of whom lost their jobs, have been forced to remain at home.
In fact, PSA Group UK’s Citroen, DS Automobiles and Peugeot brands estimate new vehicle sales will decline by 96% through the country’s lockdown period and have recalibrated their strategies accordingly.
JLR’s Solihull plant, which employed 9,000 workers prior to furloughing half its workforce and which makes the Range Rover models, will reopen with a quarter of its workers at first, alongside its SUV plants in Slovakia and Austria.
Elsewhere, mass car manufacturer BMW plans to resume production of its Rolls-Royce and MINI branded vehicles at its Goodwood and Oxford facilities, no earlier than May 4 and May 18, respectively.
Nissan said it’s piloting safety measures at its Sunderland factory but hasn’t given a fixed date for resumption. At present, the factory has been reequipped to manufacture personal protection equipment for healthcare workers.
Vauxhall announced that the industrial recovery schedule for Ellesmere Port hasn’t bet set yet, adding that it would “take into account the operating capacity left to companies by…authorities to exercise their commercial and industrial activities”.
These announcements will likely be welcome news for UK ferrous scrap processors, given that some of these companies have off-take agreements to receive high-grade steel cuttings and stampings from new car body panels.