BMW will shut down its European plants, as well as its Rosslyn plant, in Tshwane, South Africa, by the end of the week, owing to shrinking demand as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Rosslyn plant produces the X3 sports-activity vehicle for the local and global markets.
“In this situation, as a company, we have diverse responsibilities: To protect our employees and their families as best we can; to support our society in its fight against the virus, and, at the same time, to maintain our operational capabilities and prepare for what comes “after the virus”.
“We have made far-reaching decisions that affect our daily business,” added Zipse.
“Many people are focusing on their health and wellbeing and what is most essential right now. In light of this, we have already temporarily closed the first dealerships in Europe. Demand for cars, like many other goods, will decrease significantly.”
Zipse noted that the German manufacturer’s production was geared towards sales development forecasts, with BMW adjusting its production volumes in line with demand.
He said BMW remained confident regarding the future.
“There will be a time during the coronavirus. And there will be a time after the coronavirus.”
BMW Group South Africa noted in a statement that the Rosslyn shutdown was “initially scheduled” to last until April 19 – “after that, we would continue as the situation required”.
The group could not confirm whether employees would be paid during the shutdown, noting only that “the flexibility instruments agreed upon by the company would apply to the employees concerned”.