British automaker Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) was forced to import parts from China by air due to the impact of the new coronavirus which is disrupting supplies to its factories in the UK. “We brought parts from China by air in suitcases“In order to get around the supply problems,” said managing director Ralf Speth, according to reports in the British press.
The group of high-end cars, which belongs to the Indian Tata Motors, warned that it could run out of spare parts within two weeks. “This is fine for this week and the week after, and for the third week we are missing partsRalf Speth told reporters at the launch of an autonomous electric vehicle on Tuesday in Coventry (central England). “This represents a risk for our production” he alerted, letting journalists understand Financial times that the manufacturer’s factories could be shutdown at the end of the month.
The boss of JLR, the UK’s largest automaker with three factories that produce 400,000 vehicles a year, said he did not know how long it would take before the supply chain from China was restored. Not to mention that sales in China, a market in which the group has a huge stake, have been reduced to nothing for the time being, according to him. In a statement, the group said it sourced first in Europe and the United Kingdom, China representing only one “small percentage“. “Coronavirus may have an impact in the medium term, we are working with our suppliers to minimize itAccording to JLR.
Supply difficulties in all sectors
These disturbances illustrate the difficulties encountered by large companies in many sectors, due to their dependence on products or the Chinese market. Last week, the British giant of construction machinery JCB, for example, announced a drop in production due to a shortage of components imported from China.
In early February, Fiat Chrysler said that one of its European factories would be forced to stop production in a few weeks because it was struggling to source from its Chinese suppliers. All manufacturers are facing shortages: Toyota, Hyundai, Volvo and PSA have also revealed that the coronavirus is disrupting their supply chains, or is likely to do so in the coming weeks. In Asia, Hyundai and Nissan have closed their sites in South Korea.
The coronavirus has already profoundly changed world trade, first striking tourism and retail sales in the Chinese market. It also caused the cancellation of important events such as the telecoms congress in Barcelona, or the Beijing auto show.