Bentley and Ferrari resume building cars and Aston Martin prepares to ramp up production, all with new safeguards against COVID-19 in place at their respective manufacturing facilities.
More than 1,700 employees at Bentley’s headquarters in Crewe, U.K., returned to work Monday building Bentayga and Mulsanne models, to be followed next week by the Continental GT and Flying Spur. The remaining 500 manufacturing workers are expected to return by mid-June.
Each production line will run at about 50% for “a number of weeks” as the takt time of each car, or the average start time from one manufacturing stage to the next, has doubled, Bentley says.
All employees have been trained in some 250 new hygiene and social-distancing practices. To ensure adequate distance between workers, each production cell now spreads over two stages rather than one. Other safety measures include one-way paths and traffic flows, compulsory facemasks in all factory and office areas, and temperature checks for staff.
Bentley will maintain a work-from-home policy for employees able to do so.
“Now is the right time for the business to come back stronger,” Bentley Chairman and CEO Adrian Hallmark says. “We have introduced extensive new working measures to protect our colleagues, our families and our customers and we are confident, following the work of so many people, that being at Bentley will be as safe for our colleagues as being anywhere else.
“We have a strong order bank, around eight months of customer orders to manufacture, established parts supply routes and patient customers who are looking to receive their extraordinary cars as soon as possible,” he says.
Ferrari factories in Maranello and Modena, Italy, have returned to full production. The first car to come off the Special Series line after a 7-week production suspension was a black and gray Monza SP2 (above), followed by a 6.5L front-engine V-12 812 GTS Spider and 3.9L V-8 F8 Tributo.
The cars will be delivered to their respective buyers in the U.S., Germany and Australia.
Aston Martin resumed production May 5 at its St. Athan, Wales, plant, to be followed later by workers at the automaker’s global headquarters in Gaydon, U.K., and office and support staff at its other U.K. sites.
Scott Ward, director-manufacturing at the St. Athan site, says: “The arrangements we have put in place here for our phased return to work as we continue to build the brand’s first SUV – the highly anticipated DBX – are designed to support the health and safety of staff while, of course, doing everything we can to ensure we do not add to the burden already being borne by the incredibly dedicated frontline staff of the (U.K. National Health Service).”