Rolls-Royce will resume car making at its Goodwood factory on May 4, making it the first manufacturer to restart production in Britain after the coronavirus shutdown.
The BMW Group-owned firm will resume work on its luxury vehicles with 1,000 employees on site, initially working a single daily shift instead of the usual two-shift system. As with other plants that have reopened around the world, elaborate virus-protection measures will be put in place to protect workers. The plant has been shut since March 23.
Staff will wear masks and other protective clothing, with social distancing rules also put in place. Goodwood’s build rate is expected to be about 50 percent of normal, and although the company has said annual production for 2020 will be “a long way below” recent levels, it added that it is continuing to receive a healthy flow of orders, particularly from regions like China, where the virus is either declining or running at a low level.
The firm has made no predictions about a date for a full-scale resumption of production. That will depend on government advice and the company’s own experience over the next few weeks.
Notably, as production will resume on May 4, it coincides with Rolls-Royce’s 117th ‘birthday’. It was on that date when car builder Henry Royce and dealer Charles Rolls first met. That led to a partnership between the two, with Rolls-Royce Limited then officially founded in March 1906.
Aston Martin is due to resume production at its St Athan plant on May 5, with Bentley starting up its Crewe factory on May 11 (Monday). Jaguar Land Rover will also resume limited production at its Solihull and Wolverhampton plants on the 11th.
Back in India, Rolls-Royce offers an extensive line-up of its ultra-premium products, including the world’s most expensive SUV – the Cullinan Black Badge – that was launched earlier this year at an ex-showroom price of Rs 8.20 crore.
How coronavirus has hit the global auto industry: a timeline