BMW said it is preparing to suspend production at its plants in Europe and Rosslyn, South Africa, until April 19, responding to lower demand and as a way to help reduce the risk of spreading the novel coronavirus.
Likewise, Toyota will shut all its plants in Europe over the course of this week, the automaker said in a statement.
BMW said the plant shutdowns will start at the end of the week. The automaker is also closing dealerships in Europe as demand for new cars slumps.
Rolls-Royce said it would suspend production at its plant in Goodwood, England, on Monday for two weeks. The suspension will be followed by an already-planned two-week Easter maintenance shutdown.
Mini will shut its three U.K. plants on Monday until April 17, the brand said. Mini builds cars in its Oxford factory, engines in its Hams Hall plant, and body parts in its Swindon facility.
BMW abandoned hopes for another record vehicle sales year due to the coronavirus pandemic, predicting deliveries will be “significantly below” 2019 levels and profitability the weakest in years.
For Toyota, the plants affected are:
- France: the Yaris plant in Valenciennes, which suspended operations on Tuesday.
- U.K.: the Corolla plant in Burnaston and an engine plant in Deeside, which close on Wednesday.
- Czech Republic: Toyota's small-car plant jointly run with PSA in Kolin from Thursday.
- Turkey: C-HR assembly plant in Sakarya, which shuts down Saturday.
- Poland: the e-CVT hybrid gearbox plant in Walbrzych and the hybrid engine plant in Jelcz-Laskowice from Wednesday.
Toyota said it took the decision because of a combination of government restrictions of people's movements designed to stop the spread of the virus, supply chain disruption and falling sales.
The automaker said its sales operations would be assessed on a country-by-country basis.
Showrooms are being shut in countries with strict population lockdowns, while service centers remain open. Toyota said it would continue to supply parts to ensure that servicing can continue.
It also said it would keep on staff at factories in order to prepare for the launch of new models, for example in Valenciennes France, where the new Yaris will start production later this year.
"Processes and projects deemed essential to a smooth re-start and to the future activity of the plants, such as new vehicle projects, will be maintained with necessary staff,” Toyota said.
Nick Gibbs of Automotive News Europe and Reuters contributed to this report.