Auto manufacturers the world over face the possibility of extended supply network disruptions as plants in China reopened after closures due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The car sector is especially exposed as Wuhan – the epicenter of the pandemic – is called one of China’s ‘Detroits’, accounting for nearly 10% of automobiles built in the nation and home to heaps of parts suppliers.
Non-essential plants in Wuhan and other towns in Hubei remain shuttered until Wednesday.
When they reopen on March 11 after authorities give the go-ahead, it isn’t clear if corporations will have the raw materials or staff to get back to normal activities.
Auto manufacturers are concerned about their staff’s health and the uneven and unpredictable application of guidelines in different cities and regions that are making it hard for an industry that’s used to uniformity to plan.
Employees came back to work at Honda’s other Chinese plants, in Guangzhou, on February 10, and partial production restarted on February 17.
Honda is expecting to reopen its Wuhan plant this week, after the lockdown is lifted or whenever authorities allow it.
Together, Honda’s two China centers have the capacity to produce 1.2 million vehicles per year, or over 20% of the firm’s total global production.