Yesterday I gave Elon Musk a hard time for being a COVID-denier. It would only be fair to also give BMW a hard time for not shutting down their Spartanburg, SC production plant.
Most automotive manufacturers have already stopped production or will stop production in the next few days. BMW, however, plans to keep things going for 2 more weeks. In a statement to the Upstate Business Journal, a BMW spokesperson said:
The health and protection of our associates is our top priority. At the same time, the dynamic development of the [coronavirus] pandemic is having a major impact on the global demand for cars. BMW Manufacturing is taking a flexible approach and adjusting our production volumes accordingly.
The state of South Carolina has become a manufacturing hub as the cost of doing business in China has gone up over the last decade and going off-shore has meant coming on-shore to the lower Carolina. South Carolina has only confirmed 125 cases of COVID-19 but their residents do not possess any sort of super immunity. They are going to see similar spread trajectories as we have seen around the world if something isn’t done.
I am sure it takes planning to bring an orderly stop to a production line . Up stream suppliers are having their own issues and production would have to naturally stop or slow. It is one thing to almost brush off COVID-19 as Elon Musk has. It is next level to acknowledge the effects of the pandemic and tell the public that you’re worried about people not getting their luxury cars. Those people are shut in at home, BMW. And your employees should be too. Volvo is also playing with fire as they keep things running until Thursday the 26th. Michelin and Continental Tires have announced no closures to their South Carolina plants. It will be interesting to see if tire production continues as an essential service if and when the entire nation get a shelter-in-place order.
Extra coffee time,
daily automotive addiction.