Paris – PSA Group is closing its European factories until 27 March due to the Covid-19 (coronavirus) outbreak spread, the French automotive giant announced 16 March.
The closings affect plants building Peugeot, Citroen and DS vehicles, as well as Opel's factories in Germany and Poland, and Vauxhall plants in the UK.
PSA said it was shutting down the factories because of the acceleration observed in recent days of serious Covid-19 cases close to certain production sites.
Disruptions of parts deliveries from major suppliers and the sudden decline in automobile markets were also reasons for the closures, the company said.
The car maker shut down two plants in Mulhouse, France, and Madrid, Spain on 16 March.
Factories in Poissy, Rennes and Sochaux in France; Zaragoza, Spain; Eisenach and Ruesselsheim, Germany; Ellesmere Port, England; and Gliwice, Poland, will halt production on 17 March.
The company’s production units in Hordain, France; Vigo, Spain; and Mangualde, Portugal, follow on 18 March while factories in Luton, UK, and Trnava, Slovakia, will stop production the next day.
PSA did not say whether or when drivetrain factories in Austria, Hungary, Poland and France would be closed.
PSA Group is the second-largest automaker in Europe, after Volkswagen Group, with 3.02 million vehicles sold in 2019.
Volkswagen Group's Spanish unit, Seat, also announced 16 March that it would halt all its output of 2,300 units a day as of 17 March.
The production stop was because of the “expected lack of components in the coming days and to further protect the health of its workers,” Seat said in a news release.
Volkswagen has also reduced production at its car assembly plant near Lisbon by 16% because of a shortage of workers.
The factory, which produced 254,600 cars last year, will make 744 units per day, down from its usual output of 890, the group said 16 March.
The Renault Group also announced 16 March that it would shut down its industrial sites in France on the day "until further notice."
The car maker said it was suspending production to protect employees from the coronavirus outbreak and "in compliance with the measures taken by the French government."
The group said 12 sites and 18,000 employees would be affected.
Renault Group, with 1.65 million sales in 2019, is the third-biggest automaker in Europe, following Volkswagen Group and PSA Group.
Meanwhile, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is halting production for two weeks at most of its European plants in response to the outbreak.
The car maker said in a 16 March statement that production for its Fiat and Maserati units would stop until 27 March at the Italian plants of Melfi, Pomigliano, Cassino, Mirafiori, Grugliasco and Modena.
FCA's factories in Kragujevac, Serbia, and Tychy, Poland, will also close, the automaker said.