Toyota will initially restrict the restart of its Valenciennes assembly plant in northern France to a single shift and put in place safety measures to prevent outbreaks of the coronavirus.
The factory will resume production of the Yaris small car on April 22, the company said in a statement. Toyota said it would also restart production of engine and hybrid drivetrain plants in Poland to supply Valenciennes.
The plant will run on a single shift for two weeks, down from three shifts prior to shutting down in mid-March.
“The best way to restart is under no volume pressure, with focus on health and safety as well as member training/awareness,” the company said.
Employees will be issued personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, antibacterial gel, face shields and gloves, depending on the type and conditions of their work, Toyota said.
Other protective measures include holding shorter meetings in smaller groups. Doors will either be kept open or modified to ensure they can be opened by elbows. Restaurants will be closed and workers asked to bring their own food. Breaks will be organized to increase social distancing.
Toyota assembly plants in the UK, Turkey and the Czech Republic will remain closed until at least May 4, a spokesman told Automotive News Europe. “We will continue to base our decisions on the guidance we receive from authorities in each country and region,” the company said in a statement.
Toyota prioritized opening Valenciennes so it could complete the model run of the current generation of the Yaris before a new generation arrives in summer, a Toyota spokesman said.
The new Yaris will initially be launched with an improved hybrid drivetrain, with gasoline versions arriving later. There will be no diesel version, as with the current model.