The resumption of car production in Europe should be coordinated by governments because of the interconnection between automakers and their suppliers, Skoda CEO Bernhard Maier said.
A piecemeal restarting of plants in individual countries "would be ineffective," Maier told the Czech Mlada Fronta Dnes daily newspaper.
"Due to the close links between manufacturers and suppliers, the resumption of production at our plants should be planned on a pan-European scale," he said.
"Cohesion will be important so that we can start together again after the crisis," Maier said.
Automakers have set out different timetables for production restart and their plans are dependent on lockdown orders in individual European countries, as well as parts availability.
Many automakers have had to push back their production restarts, partly because of supply shortages but also because demand for new cars has slumped after government lockdowns closed dealerships and forced would-be buyers to stay at home.
BMW extended its factory shutdowns in Europe until April 30, German press reports said on Monday. Daimler aims to reopen its Mercedes-Benz factories in Germany between April 20 and 22, according to Automobilwoche, a sister publication of Automotive News Europe.
- Find out the latest of European plant closures and reopening dates here.
How to restart production was the subject of a call between Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel and the CEOs of Volkswagen Group, BMW and Daimler on Wednesday last week, Handelsblatt newspaper reported on Thursday.
Handelsblatt cited participants in the call as saying that automakers were particularly concerned about the supply chain. There was agreement that an EU-wide approach to re-starting production was needed, a source told Reuters.
Restarting production would require a degree of normality to return on the sales side, said Philippe Houchois, an automotive analyst at Jefferies. "It is not just about production, but the re-opening of dealers must be somehow coordinated as well, otherwise OEMs cannot deliver cars," he told Automotive News Europe.
BMW said on Monday that 80 percent of retail outlets in Europe and 70 percent in the U.S. were temporarily shut due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Houchois also said that some automakers would find it easier to restart that others, depending on their geographic location. "My impression is that Italian production ran until they ran out of parts whereas the shutdowns in France and Spain seemed a bit more coordinated so these plants may have a bit more inventory left over," he said.