FRANKFURT -- BMW has extended a production break at its vehicle factories in Europe and North America until April 30 as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread.
BMW said it expects a further decline in demand while dealerships remain closed because of the coronavirus pandemic. "It will take longer for markets to recover," the automaker said in a news release.
BMW stopped production in at its plants in Europe, Mexico and South Africa in mid-March and halted output at its U.S. factory in Spartanburg, its global hub for SUV production, at the end of last month.
BMW said about 80 percent of its European dealerships are closed and about 70 percent are shut in the U.S.
The automaker currently plans the following measures in Europe:
- About 20,000 employees at German plants in Munich, Dingolfing, Regensburg and Leipzig, which build core-brand models, are on short-time work. The plants will reopen on April 30.
- BMW is continuing to operate component plants in Landshut and Wackersdorf, both Germany.
- Production of Mini models in Oxford and Rolls-Royce cars in Goodwood, both in England, is suspended until April 30.
- BMW's components plant in Hams Hall, England, has stopped production. A restart date has not been fixed.
- BMW's engine plant in Steyr, Austria, which builds engines for China as well as Europe, could resume production after the Easter holidays in mid-April, but BMW says this has not been confirmed.
BMW said it is using the downtime to prepare its Munich plant for the start of production of the i4 electric sedan that will got on sale next year as a Tesla Model 3 rival and its Dingolfing factory for production of the iNext flagship electric SUV, also due next year.