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PSA to restart van production at Luton

PSA is planning for a “progressive and secured” restart of van production at its Luton site, becoming one of the latest manufacturers to announce a restart ahead of the reopening of automotive showrooms on 1 June.

Production at the Luton site will resume as of Monday 18 May

Work at the site was halted on 19 March but will now resume from Monday 18 May, backed by new health and safety measures that have been audited and shared with trade bodies.

Yann Vincent, EVP manufacturing of Groupe PSA, said: “Our enhanced measures protocol offers a high level of protection to our employees and is the first criterion for restarting our manufacturing sites. As industrial activity is driven by commercial activity, which is our second criterion, we are gradually and securely relaunching our industrial system to manufacture the cars expected by our customers. These two criteria will guide our decisions for the coming weeks and months.”

As well as requiring employees to have a temperature check at the site entrance and to wear glasses and masks on site, the new procedures include various social distancing measures and asking employees to use individual transport to commute where possible.”

Colin MacDonald, director of the Luton plant, added: “Since the shutdown of our site, we have implemented a reinforced health protocol on our industrial site with the support of our medical service and in close collaboration with our union partners. Thanks to this collective effort, validated by the audit that took place on 4 May, we can resume the manufacturing of the commercial vehicles on Monday 18 May, in a progressive and safe manner.”

Work is also underway for the return to work at the Vauxhall Ellesmere Port plant, although a date is yet to be announced.

The news of the production restarts follows the publication of the Government’s roadmap on lifting coronavirus restrictions, including for the overall UK manufacturing sector, and is being supported by newly published guidance from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) on safe restarts.

Developed in partnership with the Garage Equipment Association (GEA), Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF), Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI), Scottish Motor Trade Association (SMTA), the best-practice advice covers the complete automotive manufacturing environment and is designed to complement the government guidance.

It follows yesterday’s publication of SMMT advice for the safe restart of showrooms, currently due to reopen on 1 June under government guidance.

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.”

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Written by Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.

Natalie edits all the Fleet World websites and newsletters, and loves to hear about any latest industry news - or gossip.

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