While vehicle and component production has slowed to a trickle in Europe because of the coronavirus outbreak, Daimler, Volvo and suppliers say their factories in China are coming back online.
Daimler has reopened its factory in China, where demand for cars is recovering, CEO Ola Kallenius told a German newspaper.
"The vast majority of our dealerships have reopened, the customers are returning," Kallenius told Handelsblatt. "Every day more people come to the car dealerships. Demand is picking up, which makes us optimistic."
Earlier this month Volvo Cars reopened its four manufacturing plants in China after an extended closure period to cope with the virus outbreak.
The automaker said that current showroom traffic indicates a return to normal in China’s car market. Volvo makes vehicles in Chengdu, Luqiao and Daqing and builds engines in Zhangjiakou.
Another positive sign is that Volvo subsidiary Polestar started production Tuesday of its first volume model, the Polestar 2, in Luqiao.
"This is a great achievement and the result of huge efforts from the staff in the factory and the team securing the supply chain," Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath said in a news release.
The plant, which is owned by Zhejiang Geely Holding and operated by Volvo, is the sole production site for the 300-kiloWatt (408 hp) full-electric midsize fastback, which will challenge the Tesla Model 3. European deliveries start this summer. The automaker also restarted production of the Polestar 1 plug-in hybrid on February 17 at its factory in Chengdu. The plant lost 10 days of production, which a Polestar spokesman told ANE should be easy to make up because the Polestar 1 is a low-volume model.
Separately, Polestar said in a note to customers that it China team avoided the coronavirus through temperature screenings, thoroughly disinfecting factories as well as providing masks and medical checkups for all it employees.