When the BMW Brilliance production facility in Shenyang, China was idled for Chinese Lunar New Year during the last week of January, it was expected to reopen a short time later so production could resume. With human Coronavirus spreading throughout China and other parts Asia though, that hasn’t happened yet, and the factory is not expected to reopen until at least February 17.
Believed to have originated from an open-air market selling wild animals for consumption in Wuhan, a large city in China’s Hubei province, Coronavirus is said to have been responsible for the deaths of 910 people at the time of this writing. Many of the statistics come directly from the Chinese government, where the majority of the cases have occurred, which are currently numbered at over 40,000. As China is the world’s largest manufacturing base, the virus has been weighing heavily on global markets for weeks now, as fears that the already-slowing Chinese economy will continue to lose steam at an even faster pace than before.
BMW is not the only automaker or large manufacturer that has had to suspend production operations in China. The New York Times is reporting that Ford’s Chongqing Changan Automobile partner factories in Chongqing and Hangzhou are set to resume production on February 10, while Honda’s three plants in Wuhan, which are operated with Dongfeng Motor Group, are scheduled to be restarted on February 13. Nissan is said to be considering resuming production with Dongfeng sometime after February 10, and in Hubei after February 14, while PSA Peugeot Citroen, currently in the midst of merging with Fiat, confirmed its three plants in Wuhan would stay closed until February 14.
Toyota extended a shutdown that was originally planned to be lifted on February 9 to February 16 for its twelve automobile and auto part manufacturing facilities throughout China. Volkswagen has also postponed a planned restart of its jointly-operated Chinese plants with a new date of February 17. Daimler plans to restart manufacturing operations of passenger cars in Beijing on February 10. Other companies like Tesla and Fiat Chrysler have warned that production outlook would suffer and that delays would result from the disease outbreak. French auto parts manufacturer Valeo relayed that its three production sites in Wuhan would stay shuttered until at least February 13, although no supply chain disruptions have been reported.
Because most of the BMWs manufactured in China are destined for that national market, the manufacturing disruption does not seem to pose any immediate threat to in terms of delays or availability in places like the U.S. or Europe.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]