STOCKHOLM (AFP) — Chinese-owned Swedish auto maker Volvo Cars said Friday it would temporarily halt production at its European and U.S. plants to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
“Our primary concerns are the health of our employees and the future of our business,” CEO Hakan Samuelsson said in a statement.
The company said there is a need for social distancing to reduce the spread of the virus.
Production at the carmaker’s Belgian plant in Ghent was stopped Tuesday, and three facilities in Sweden and the factory in South Carolina would be halted starting March 26.
Office workers will generally work from home as of March 26, with reduced hours.
“With the help of valuable supporting programs put in place by governments and authorities, we have been able to act quickly,” Samuelsson said.
The company said it would reopen the plant in Belgium on April 5 and the other facilities on April 14.
Some 25,000 employees will be affected in Sweden, 6,500 in Belgium and 1,500 in the United States.
The carmaker reopened its four Chinese factories this month after extended closures due to the spread of the new coronavirus in mainland China.
“We see very positive signs of a normalization in our Chinese business. There all our factories are up and running again, our headquarters is open and we also see customers being back in showrooms,” said Stefan Elfstrom, spokesman for Volvo Cars.
© Agence France-Presse