Image: BMW
Image: BMW

BMW, Toyota and Honda have joined the likes of Nissan and Vauxhall in shutting down production at their UK factories following the spread of Coronavirus.

BMW alone employs around 8,000 people in the UK as part of its operations of the MINI plant in Oxford and others in Swindon and Hams Hall.

The German car giant said its plants would be closed for at least four weeks and will pay factory workers. However, they will be expected to take it off as holiday, accrued overtime or ‘negative overtime’ which they will pay back later.

Car brands are facing huge difficulties in both new sales as people minimise social contact, but also the ability to secure necessary parts as a result of travel bans across Europe, and staffing numbers as more and more people self-isolate.

In a statement, BMW said: “Due to the rapidly evolving coronavirus pandemic we have taken the difficult decision to cease production at our production sites at Oxford and Swindon as of Monday next week [23 March] for a period of four weeks until 17 April.

“The plans for Hams Hall are under development and a subsequent announcement will be made.”

Toyota has halted production at all of its European factories until further notice, including its plants in Derbyshire and Deeside. With 3,000 people employed across the two factories, Toyota said staff would be placed on paid leave for at least two weeks.

Toyota said: “This action is being taken to help ensure the health and safety of our employees, and due to an anticipated decline in market demand related to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As the impact of the situation evolves, we will continue to evaluate conditions.”

Meanwhile, Honda is closing its plant in Swindon, which is due to close in 2021 regardless, until at least 6 April.

Jaguar Land Rover is one of very few car makers left to not have announced a suspension to its production, although it is expected to make the move in the coming days.

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