SMMT News

Automotive manufacturing sector ready to ramp up production, as SMMT publishes safe restart guidance

14 May 2020 #SMMT News
  • New sector-specific guidance for UK automotive manufacturing industry released by SMMT today.
  • Manufacturers nationwide begin to welcome back staff, with comprehensive safety measures covering workstations, in and outbound logistics, communal areas and staff entrances.
  • Some major automotive plants already working, with more due back before end of May, as global markets exit lockdown ahead of Britain.

The UK automotive manufacturing sector today announced its preparedness to get production lines rolling again, with the publication of new sector-specific guidance1 by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). The best-practice advice will help to ensure all automotive production sites are safe spaces for workers, controlling the risk of transmission.

The new guidance covers the complete automotive manufacturing environment, including workstations, staff entrances, car parks, shared offices, meeting rooms and communal areas. Wide ranging advice is available encompassing everything from social distancing and hygiene standards to personal protective equipment (PPE), mental health and staff communications.

Developed together with vehicle and supply chain manufacturers it is designed to complement government guidance for the overall UK manufacturing sector and help automotive manufacturers, from SMEs to large enterprise, implement legal requirements as part of individual risk assessments in line with their unique business operations.

Although manufacturing has been permitted to continue throughout the lockdown period, the closure of markets in the UK and globally, meant that the vast majority of plants were forced to halt operations. As markets start to re-open, production lines are gradually beginning to roll again, although at a much slower pace as manufacturers enforce strict safety measures to ensure workers are protected, and market demand remains subdued.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,

The coronavirus crisis has taken a heavy toll on the automotive industry but, as lockdown measures begin to ease, at last there is some light at the end of the tunnel. Global markets are starting to open up and overseas demand for UK-built vehicles, engines and components will follow. However, to accelerate this crucial sector’s recovery we need all parts of the jigsaw to be in place, starting with the reopening of automotive showrooms to drive essential market demand.

Automotive is the UK’s single biggest exporter of goods, trading with some 150 countries worldwide, and accounting for more than 14% of total exports. The sector is one of the country’s most valuable economic assets, directly employing 168,000 people, supporting communities in every region and delivering an annual £18.6 billion to the public purse.

Notes to editors

1 SMMT automotive manufacturing guidance and best practice is designed to complement official government advice and will be updated to reflect any changes over time

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