Ford has confirmed the shutdown is expected to last for a number of weeks and came after guidance from the World Health Organisation that cases are expected to rise rapidly across the continent over the next few days.
The popular car firms factores in Cologne and Saarlouis in Germany and the Craiova factory in Romania will close as part of the shutdown.
Ford’s Valencia based factory has been closed since Monday after three workers were confirmed as testing positive for COVID-19 over the weekend.
Ford’s European President, Sturt Rowley said: Due to the dramatic impact this ongoing crisis is having on the European market and the supplier industry – together with the recent actions by countries to restrict all but essential travel and personal contact – we are temporarily halting production at our main continental Europe manufacturing sites.”
Mr Rowley confirmed the virus has had an unprecedented effect on the businesses dealers, suppliers and customers.
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Component supplies to manufacturing sites have been interrupted while sales have declined as dealerships were forced to close in many key territories.
However, Ford confirmed some dealers were continuing to operate essential maintenance works and offer vital services to customers.
The business said they hoped the measures would only be in place for a short period of time but warned customers this would depend on a number of critical factors.
The spread of the virus, local government and European Union restrictions and suppliers ability to produce parts would all factor into when normal services could resume.
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Mr Rowley added: “It is at difficult times like these when we must stand united and put people first.
“We at Ford will play our part in the weeks ahead to help get through this crisis, reduce its spread and alleviate its effects wherever we can.”
The shutdown at the firm’s biggest European plants could see deliveries of some of their most popular cars delayed.
However, production of the new Ford Mach E will seemingly not be affected by the closure as the car is set to be built at the firm’s Mexican plant.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, a Ford spokesperson said: “For customers who have ordered and are awaiting their vehicle, we will do everything we can to deliver if it is already built.
“We are working with our dealers to inform customers of any delays and consult whether the customer would prefer to wait or switch to an already built unit.”
Ford is not the first major manufacturer to fall victim to the coronavirus pandemic as several global car firms come to terms with the effect of the crisis.
Nissan has suspended production at the UK’s largest car factory in Sunderland due to a sudden fall in demand.
The Sunderland plant employs 7,000 people but closed its doors yesterday after production issues
The plant is home to some of the UK’s most popular road vehicles such as the Nissan Juke and Qashqai models.
However, the Japanese car firm has blamed a fall in demand as well as issues with importing vital car parts as key reasons behind the shutdown.
A statement said: “Vehicle production has been suspended today in Nissan Sunderland plant.
“Further measures are currently under study as we assess supply chain disruption and the sudden drop in market demand caused by the Covid-19 emergency.”
PSA Group, parent company to British car firm Vauxhall confirmed its European plants were closed on Monday, including two in the UK.
Volkswagen has also said it was preparing to cease production at factories in places such as Spain, Portugal, Slovakia and Italy by the end of the week.
Mike Hawes, Chief Executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has urged the government to help workers to ensure the critical success of the industry amid the crisis.
He said: “We now seek immediate dialogue with government to agree how such a comprehensive package of measures can ensure business continuity and support for workers.
“The continued success of this industry is critical not just to the country’s economic performance but also to the hundreds of thousands of people across the country who rely on the sector for their livelihoods.”
Published at Wed, 18 Mar 2020 08:50:00 +0000