FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Volvo Cars will reopen its Torslanda factory and offices in Sweden next week after overhauling its production processes to help prevent coronavirus infections, following a three week shutdown caused by the pandemic, the carmaker said on Friday.
Volvo’s factory in Ghent, Belgium, will reopen on 20 April, but at reduced production output and the carmaker plans to reopen its South Carolina plant in the United States on Monday 11 May after adapting sanitation and cleaning routines.
“We have introduced new health measures. We will work with gloves and masks in the areas where we come too close. The production rate will depend on the market. We can produce at full speed, but this depends on the orders,” Chief Executive Hakan Samuelsson told Reuters.
The Swedish carmaker, which is owned by China’s Geely [GEELY.UL], has a good order intake, but three weeks’ worth of production has been lost, Samuelsson said.
Because the European economy has ground to a halt, Volvo will continue to make use of shortened working hours, Samuelsson added.
In Sweden, the layout in all meeting rooms, office spaces and restaurants has been adjusted to allow for social distancing, ensuring that desks are spaced out and limiting the number of people allowed in meeting rooms and restaurants.
Employees in Sweden can also take voluntary temperature tests and measure their blood oxygen levels. Office workers in other markets will continue to follow local guidelines.
The engine plant in Skoevde, Sweden, and the body component manufacturing site in Olofstroem, Sweden will continue to plan their production on a weekly basis and adapt according to needs in the other plants, Volvo said.
(Reporting by Edward Taylor; Editing by Michelle Martin)