LONDON -- Bentley is extending its plant shutdown by three weeks and will begin gradually reopening from May 11, as coronavirus lockdown measures remain in place in the UK.
The Volkswagen Group brand, which builds about 11,000 ultraluxury models annually at its factory in Crewe, England, will begin a ramp-up with limited staffing from May 11 with full output due to recommence on May 18.
"As the threat persists, so must we with the robust safety measures put in place to ensure we protect as many people as we possibly can, now and when we return to full operations," CEO Adrian Hallmark said.
Britain has the fifth highest official death toll from COVID-19 in the world and its health minister has said it is too early to ease the most stringent restrictions on people's movements in the UK's peacetime history.
Bentley's announcement comes a day after Aston Martin said it would delay reopening its two production sites by a week.
Some automakers plan to resume certain operations on the continent next week, but in Britain, Jaguar Land Rover has yet to set a reopening date whilst Nissan's production is suspended "throughout April."
Several new models are due out of British car factories over the next 12 months, including Aston Martin's first SUV, the DBX, which is crucial to the automaker's turnaround plan, and Nissan's new Qashqai SUV.