COVENTRY, England -- Jaguar Land Rover has flown Chinese parts in suitcases to Britain to maintain production and could run out after two weeks as the impact of the coronavirus outbreak hits companies across countries and industries.
Britain's biggest automaker operates three car factories in its home market that build nearly 400,000 vehicles a year.
"We are safe for this week and we are safe for next week. In the third week we have parts missing," CEO Ralf Speth told reporters on Tuesday at the official opening of the National Automotive Innovation Centre in Coventry, central England.
"We have flown parts in suitcases from China to the UK," he said.
Key fobs are among 38 critical parts JLR is short of, the Financial Times said.
Speth said production at JLR's Chinese factory would recommence on Feb. 24 and was "safe for the first week."
The new coronavirus has killed some 1,900 people in China and infected about 72,000, confining millions to their homes, disrupting businesses and delaying reopening of factories after the extended Lunar New Year holiday break.
Speth said sales in China, the world's biggest auto market, had been hit. That comes after JLR had seen a recovery in sales there, helping it to return to profitability in recent quarters.
"That's completely stopped. It's zero," he said. "You don't know whether the economy will catch up or whether this kind of loss is just a loss."
The boss of Tata Motors, JLR's parent company, Guenter Butschek, speaking at the same event, said the company does not have sufficient visibility regarding parts suppliers from China.
"We are safe for the month of February and for a good part of March," Butschek said. "Are we fully covered at this point of time for the full month of March? Unfortunately...not."
JLR joins major global companies in warning of the impact of the coronavirus in China on supply chains.