China is slowly emerging from its shutdowns by restarting production at factories and resuming some flights. A recovery in the world’s second-largest economy provides some relief for global manufacturers in the months ahead as the outbreak continues to wreak havoc in Europe, India, and the Americas.
Production at BMW’sShenyang plants resumed, and the automaker expressed confidence the Chinese government will manage the crisis and defeat the epidemic.
Fiat Chrysler’s Chinese manufacturing operations have resumed, and more than 90% of FCA dealers in China are back online. Ford say their Chinese plants have resumed production and are continuing to ramp up, as both of their local JVs have achieved almost 100% recovery, though some Hubei and Wuhan employees are still under travel restrictions. Honda’s production is gradually recovering at their two Chinese ventures, and so far they have not had problems caused by parts shortage there due to strain in supply from outside of China.The PSA joint venture with Dongfeng has restarted car production at their plant in Wuhan city, the epicentre of China’s coronavirus outbreak. Nissan said all factories in China have resumed work and production is set to align with government mandates, all SAIC plants in China have resumed production, Toyota plants have returned to their regular two-shift schedule, and all Volkswagen sites are back to operation, though challenges include a slow national supply chain and logistics ramp-up, as well as limited travel options for employees.
However, a second wave of coronavirus infections in China is widely expected. If it happens, it would once again slam the auto industry there. Fears of a second wave—or a first wave that hasn’t really ended—are amplified by worldwide doubt China’s coronavirus statistics. Reports have leaked out from China suggesting artificial reductions in reported infection numbers by simply refusing to test people who might be ill. Hong Kong’s public broadcaster last week quoted a local volunteer in Wuhan, the Chinese epicentre of the virus, who said hospital staff there are turning away coronavirus patients and avoiding testing sick people in what he called “a political treatment, not medical treatment.”