“As we return to work at our two engine plants in the UK, our key priority is the implementation of Ford’s global standards on social distancing and strengthened health and safety protocols to safeguard the well-being of our workforce”, said Graham Hoare, Chairman, Ford of Britain. A comprehensive set of Ford global standards on social distancing and employee health and safety actions, which are said to exceed the UK government’s current guidance, are being implemented across the facilities. The car manufacturer said it will continue to build ventilator sub-assemblies for the VentilatorChallengeUK, which is supplying the British National Health Service with the units. The facility used in the assembly of the ventilators is separate from the main engine plant buildings at Dagenham and is said to have no impact on engine production. Ford also is producing face masks for its UK employees and those across its facilities in Europe.

The UK automotive industry has called on the government to allow the country’s 4,900-strong network of new car showrooms to reopen as a matter of urgency, as new calculations from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reveal the £61 million (US$74.2 million) daily cost to the Treasury of keeping dealerships closed. According to the SMMT, new car registrations in the UK declined 97.3% in April, a record low for the new car market as the coronavirus pandemic forced the nation into lockdown for the entire month, with showrooms closed and car buyers housebound. The SMMT has downgraded its previous UK forecast to 1.68 million registrations in 2020. This is said to put the sector on course to record its worst performance since 1992 (1.59 million units), below the levels seen during the 2008 financial crisis and some 27% lower than the 2.31 million new cars registered in 2019.