Hungary's auto industry plans gradual restart of production
Hungary's largest car makers plan to restart production gradually after weeks of shutdown to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus, they said in statements late on Tuesday.
Hungary's economy is heavily dependent on the vehicle manufacturing sector, which all but halted production last month when the pandemic began to spread in the central European country.
Germany's luxury carmaker Daimler and Japan's Suzuki have said they will restart production in a limited scope at their Hungarian units later this month. Germany luxury brand Audi restarted its Hungarian factory on Tuesday.
"Hungarian Suzuki Corp. introduced more complex health safety measures than ever before, therefore the factory at Esztergom is ready to restart production," the company said in an emailed statement.
"The company monitors the market and potential domestic and international government measures, revising its restart date weekly. Hungarian Suzuki expects to restart production on April 27 in a single-shift operation."
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PSA Group's Opel told state news agency MTI it was ready to restart production at its Western Hungarian plant when market circumstances and regulations allowed.
Korean tire maker Hankook Tire has restarted its factory south of Budapest, it said. Other companies in the car sector supply chain, such as Japanese Denso, have also started to resume production operations, they said.
The companies said they would continue to monitor hygiene and implement safe distancing between employees.
Hungary's industrial production expanded by an annual 4.1 percent in February, before the novel coronavirus pandemic hit the global economy. Analysts expect the economic effects of the shutdown to peak in the second quarter of the year in Hungary, as in many other countries.