Bentley Motors has shut down production at its Crewe, UK, factory headquarters. The closure, which took effect from Friday is to last for four weeks.
In a statement on Friday, the luxury auto maker attributed its decision to the accelerated rate of infection by corona virus and understandable restrictions applied, the resulting interruptions in supply chain that will soon be seen, as well as declining demand on some automotive markets.
“But most importantly,” it explained, “the decision is to protect the health of Bentley’s many colleagues, their families and communities.
“Core business functions will continue throughout the shutdown with colleagues either based in Crewe, following social distancing policies, or working remotely. Production will not start again until 20 April.
Adrian Hallmark, Chairman and CEO of Bentley Motors, said: “The well-being of our colleagues is our number one priority and although this was a difficult decision to take, and doesn’t change our strategic direction, it was necessary to protect them as best we can during these unprecedented times. This will inevitably have an impact on our deliveries to customers, and we apologise for the inconvenience this causes, however we are working hard to minimize this disruption. Our thoughts continue to go out to all those affected around the world throughout this very sad and difficult time for so many people.’
To protect its employees, Bentley had implemented further measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, for example, changing operations at company canteen and shops, introducing safe behaviours and closing the company gym facilities. As a general principle, all meetings will be held by Skype or video and all major events have been postponed or cancelled.
Moreover, special protection applies for employees with special health risks as a result of pre-existing conditions affecting the heart or lungs and employees with weakened immune systems, among others.
In order to keep transmission of the virus as low as possible, contacts are being largely avoided. Managers and employees have reviewed the possibilities of working from home, and the company has launched its largest ever program of remote working.
Similarly, Jaguar Land Rover has also confirmed that it will temporarily suspend production at its UK manufacturing facilities over the course of next week. The company’s intention is to resume in the week of 20 April, subject to review of the rapidly-changing circumstances.
As a responsible business, Jaguar Land Rover is operating in line with advice from the NHS and Public Health England to minimise the spread of the coronavirus, whilst implementing plans to safeguard its business continuity. The company will work towards an orderly return to production once conditions permit.
Currently, Jaguar Land Rover’s manufacturing plants in Brazil and India continue operating. The company’s joint venture plant in China reopened in the week of 24 February, as life begins to get back to normal in the country.
Although the company’s focus must be on its business and responsibilities to employees, Jaguar Land Rover is doing whatever it can to support its communities through the current situation. The company’s thoughts are with those directly affected by COVID-19 and with the healthcare professionals, whose role in combating this virus is appreciated by all.