Bentley Motors has announced that it has suspended production from 20 March at its Crewe, UK, factory headquarters for four weeks.
This decision is based on the accelerated rate of infection by the coronavirus and understandable restrictions applied, the resulting interruptions in the supply chain that will soon be seen, as well as declining demand on some automotive markets. But most importantly the decision is to protect the health of Bentley’s many colleagues, their families and communities.
Core business functions will continue throughout the shutdown with colleagues either based in Crewe, following social distancing policies, or working remotely. Production will not start again until 20 April.
Adrian Hallmark, Chairman and CEO of Bentley Motors, said: “The well-being of our colleagues is our number one priority and although this was a difficult decision to take, and doesn’t change our strategic direction, it was necessary to protect them as best we can during these unprecedented times. This will inevitably have an impact on our deliveries to customers, and we apologise for the inconvenience this causes, however, we are working hard to minimize this disruption. Our thoughts continue to go out to all those affected around the world throughout this very sad and difficult time for so many people.”
To protect its employees, Bentley had implemented further measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, for example, changing operations at company canteen and shops, introducing safe behaviours and closing the company gym facilities. As a general principle, all meetings will be held by Skype or video and all major events have been postponed or cancelled.
Moreover, special protection applies for employees with special health risks as a result of pre-existing conditions affecting the heart or lungs and employees with weakened immune systems, among others.
In order to keep the transmission of the virus as low as possible, contacts are being largely avoided. Managers and employees have reviewed the possibilities of working from home, and the company has launched its largest-ever program of remote working.
The measures also include a halt to business trips including other countries and trips between locations.