The coronavirus outbreak in China has had automakers around the globe on edge, trying to determine if and how it will impact them. At least one, Jaguar Land Rover, determined it only has enough Chinese-made parts to produce vehicles for two weeks.
Chief Executive Ralf Speth said Tuesday the luxury automaker’s three plants in Great Britain can run for about 14 more days before they run out of components, unless something changes in short order, Reuters reported.
“We are safe for this week and we are safe for next week and in the third week we have… parts missing,” said Speth, adding the automaker’s plant in China would open next week and was “safe for the very first week.”
Until now, the closest any automaker has come to warning of a potential shutdown is General Motors. However, the automaker didn’t actually issue a warning, the UAW did. The union took to social media to tell hourly employees at the company’s truck plants in Flint, Michigan, parts shortages may be on the horizon for them as well as plants in and Arlington, Texas, and Fort Wayne, Indiana.
UAW Local 598, in a message to members in a social media post, said the threat of parts shortages is growing and also threatens production at key GM assembly plants in Arlington, Texas, and Fort Wayne, Indiana.
“We had a much more in-depth report from the materials department about the impact on our parts supply. They have given up on their everything is fine message. In February, we have parts that potentially will be impacted. They are both decal applications so we will build shy if we run out,” the union report said.
Outside of the U.S., South Korean maker Hyundai shut down three plants after running out of parts. The company is heavily reliant on Chinese suppliers. About 20% of Chinese auto parts exports wind up in the U.S., though much of that winds up in the automotive aftermarket.
China ships relatively few vehicles abroad, but it exports about $70 billion worth of car parts and accessories globally. South Korea is particularly dependent upon Chinese suppliers, the automakers saying the planned shutdown of its home market plants is “due to disruptions in the supply of parts resulting from the coronavirus outbreak in China.”
In the meantime, other automakers have remained cautiously optimistic about getting operations in China up and running and getting components for U.S. plants. Other global companies, such as Apple, have also issued warnings that they will be impacted by the virus.
The rapidly spreading virus has killed nearly 1,900 in China and stricken some 72,000 people, confining millions to their homes, disrupting supply chains and delaying reopening of factories after the extended