As the world tries to contain the spread of the coronavirus that’s been causing plant shutdowns in hardest-hit China, as well as South Korea and Europe, automakers in the United States are confident the supply chain for models won’t be affected.
China has since ordered the closure of factories in the country well past the two-week shutdown that typically occurs during Lunar New Year. This directive has affected the global auto industry, with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announcing the temporary closure of its factory in Serbia, where the Fiat 500L is made. Hyundai was also forced to close some facilities in South Korea earlier this month because it could not procure enough parts from China, although the automaker has since told online publication Car and Driver that its parts supply chain is now back to normal and that “most of Hyundai Motor’s Korean facilities are operational as of February 14.”
Kia, meanwhile, said through its Director of Corporate Communications James Bell that it has “encountered no disruption in sales or availability [in the U.S.]” despite some of its plants in China and South Korea being impacted by the current situation.
Jaguar Land Rover also told Reuters that it has enough parts from China to keep its production going in Great Britain for two more weeks. But after that, production might have to be paused.
Some companies opted to pull out its employees from China, such as Honda and French conglomerate PSA. But the situation could be worse for automakers that are currently in the middle of developing electric vehicles as many battery cells are made in China.
Still, U.S. automakers shouldn’t feel much of an effect, at least in the near term, because the only models that are built in China and exported to the U.S. are the Buick Envision and the Volvo S90.
“There really hasn’t been any impact on U.S. car shoppers,” General Motors Senior Manager of Communications James Cain said. “The vehicles we build in China are nearly all sold in China. Our U.S. production hasn’t been impacted so far.”