Breaking News
Get Actionable Insights with InvestingPro+: Start 7 Day FREE Trial Register here
Investing Pro 0
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your Investing.com experience. Save up to 40% More details

An easing of coronavirus prevention measures helps China's auto plants rev up

CoronavirusMay 19, 2020 03:36AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
4/4 © Reuters. Employees wearing face masks work on a Lynk &Co car production line at Geely's Yuyao plant in Ningbo 2/4

By Yilei Sun and Brenda Goh

YUYAO, China/SHANGHAI (Reuters) - In the eastern Chinese city of Yuyao, a group of five face-masked workers at a Geely auto plant, stood almost shoulder to shoulder behind an SUV as they conducted paint and other quality checks.

That scene would not have been possible a month ago.

But Reuters visits to six factories including those operated by Daimler AG's (DE:DAIGn) China venture and Japanese chipmaker Renesas Electronics (T:6723) showed manufacturers in China have begun to ease strict physical distancing rules as the coronavirus outbreak is now contained. China's daily new coronavirus cases have recently dropped to single digits.

The most significant rule to be relaxed - in line with an easing of guidelines by local governments - has been the requirement that production line workers stand at least 1 metre apart. That rule was put in place by many authorities in February when the outbreak was at its height in China but it was also a rule that auto industry insiders said had hamstrung productivity.

"Workers need to work together to check the quality of the job," Shen Qingguang, safety manager at Geely's Yuyao plant where some 1,000 workers build sport utility vehicles for its Lynk & Co marque, told Reuters.

Employees often need to work together on the final assembly line in particular, he added. But where working close together is not deemed necessary, the 1 metre rule still applies and Geely office staff must work 1.5 metres apart.

North American auto plants began reopening this week, introducing temperature monitors for those entering plants, personal protective equipment such as face masks and shields, as well as revamped and deep-cleaned factory floors that emphasise social distancing.

Manufacturers in China are, however, several weeks or in some cases months ahead in terms of reopening, providing a window into how worker practices could evolve. That said, restrictions will vary by country and region.

For Tesla Inc's (O:TSLA) Shanghai plant, workers were required to maintain a distance of 1 metre in February but like many other China plants, that rule has now been eased.

In contrast, Tesla's "Return to Work Playbook" published this month for its Fremont, California factory calls for workers to maintain a distance of 6 feet or 2 metres, or for barriers to be established where that is not possible.

At Beijing Benz Automotive Co, a Daimler (OTC:DDAIF) venture with China's BAIC Group [BEJINS.UL], the 1 metre rule has also been relaxed for production line staff and workers wearing face masks could be seen working near each other.

A noticeboard showed weekly production for one line making E-Class sedans, GLC sport utility vehicles and other models had jumped to over 4,000 vehicles from 1,100 in early February.

Indeed, Chinese auto production is by and large back on track, climbing 2.3% in April from the same month a year earlier to 2.1 million vehicles. Vehicle sales also grew, up 4.4% for their first rise in 22 months. Geely said its Yuyao plant had managed to return to full capacity in early March.

Many strict measures are, however, still in place. At all six plants visited by Reuters, face masks are compulsory - even though some smaller Chinese cities have begun to relax rules about wearing them. Workers must also have their temperatures checked daily and factories are regularly disinfected.

All of the plants visited, which included plants operated by Japan's SMC Corp (T:6273), which supplies equipment for production lines, Ningbo Joyson Electronic Corp (SS:600699) - a maker of electronic and safety gear for cars, and Hongyu Electric, a wire supplier for vehicles, said they have not had a case of a coronavirus infection since February.

At Geely's Yuyao plant, rules have also been relaxed for lunch. Previously, workers had to sit on chairs far apart near the production line, all facing one way with their backs to each other.

Now they are allowed back in the canteen, with two workers allowed to sit at a table for four, seated diagonally apart. There are no barriers on the table but sitting directly opposite each other or side by side is still forbidden. Hongyu Electric has introduced similar rules.

Shen, the Geely safety manager, said staff at the Yuyao plant adjusted to wearing masks and "new normal" work practices quickly.

"Everyone wants to be safe," he said.

An easing of coronavirus prevention measures helps China's auto plants rev up
 

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email