Production is set to resume soon.
The coronavirus outbreak could not have come at a "good time" for anyone, but especially not for Jaguar Land Rover. JLR, like most European manufacturers, was forced to shut down production, incurring financial losses and production delays. This at a time when the recently facelifted 2021 Jaguar F-Type was just going on sale and the 2020 Land Rover Defender was just about to revive an automotive icon.
JLR is not an automaker that can afford lengthy production shutdowns, having asked for a $1 billion cash injection just one year ago. Fortunately for the UK automaker, production will start back up sooner than expected.
The UK automaker has publicly announced plans to gradually resume production starting on May 18, 2020, beginning with its manufacturing plants in Solihull, UK, Slovakia where the Defender is built, and Magna Steyr in Austria where the Jaguar E-Pace and I-Pace are assembled. In the Chinese market, JLR says it has noticed a recovery in vehicle sales and customers are returning to showrooms. JLR's joint venture plant in Changshu has been in operation since February, despite the Covid-19 outbreaks in China.
The company says that as more countries start to relax social distancing guidelines, retailers can reopen and the restart of other production plants will be confirmed: "in due course." When the virus first hit the UK, Land Rover donated press vehicles to the Red Cross and other emergency services. The only automaker we know to do so.
JLR stressed that "The health and wellbeing of our employees is our first priority. We are developing robust protocols and guidelines to support a safe return to work. We will adopt strict social distancing measures across our business and are currently evaluating a number of different measures to ensure we protect and reassure our workforce when they begin to return to work. We continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and follow the guidance of all relevant authorities in the markets in which we operate."