Lost vehicle production across the European Union due to plant closures as a result of the coronavirus pandemic already exceeds 1.2 million units, the European auto manufacturers’ association, ACEA, said Tuesday.
According to data compiled by ACEA, “EU-wide production losses due to factory shutdowns amount to at least 1,231,038 motor vehicles so far,” the group said, adding that the average shutdown duration is 16 working days at the moment.
“Production losses are obviously set to increase if shutdowns are extended or additional plants are brought to a halt,” ACEA added.
The jobs of at least 1,110,107 Europeans working in automobile manufacturing are affected by the factory shutdowns, the group said, adding: “This figure only refers to those people directly employed by car, truck, van and bus manufacturers — the impact on the wider automotive supply chain is even more critical.”
In total, 2.6 million direct manufacturing jobs are provided by the EU automotive industry, with vehicle makers operating 229 vehicle assembly and production plants across the region, ACEA said, with the wider auto sector providing indirect and direct jobs for 13.8 million people in the EU.
“Right now, the primary concern of ACEA and all its members is to manage the immediate crisis facing the auto industry, which has essentially come to an abrupt halt — something the sector has never experienced before,” Eric-Mark Huitema, ACEA’s director general, said in the statement.
Last week, ACEA, along with associations representing automotive suppliers, tire and rubber manufacturers and motor trade and repairs, sent a joint letter to Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, requesting discussions with the EC to assess the impact of the pandemic.
“We believe this could provide a good basis not only to assess what could be done to mitigate the impact on our sector in the short term, but also to prepare an exit strategy for when the worst of the health crisis is behind us,” they said in the letter.
As the industry focuses on dealing with short-term issues arising from the coronavirus crisis, “other activities inevitably suffer,” the letter said.
“No production, development, testing or homologation work occurs for the time being. This upsets the plans we had made to prepare ourselves for complying with existing and future EU laws and regulations within the applicable deadlines set in these regulations,” it said, adding: “We believe therefore that some adjustment would need to be made to the timing of these laws.”
The industry groups stressed, however, that “it is not our intention to question the laws as such nor the underlying objectives of road safety, climate change mitigation and protection of the environment.”
— Andy Blamey