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Volvo to halt U.S. production next week

Automotive
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Volvo Car Corp. will halt production at its S.C. plant in Ridgeville next week in response to a weakening market and health concerns for employees because of the new coronavirus.

The company had already taken precautionary measures and instituted travel restrictions, but Volvo said in a statement that it sees a need to further reduce the spread of COVID-19 by instituting a period of social distancing.

Volvo halted production at its Belgian plant on Tuesday and will close its Swedish and U.S. plants between Thursday and April 14.

People working in offices will work from home as of Thursday as well, with working hours reduced. The affected office employees work at the company’s headquarters in Gothenburg, Sweden, as well as at the Belgian plant and in its markets.

“These actions will secure jobs and ensure that Volvo Cars can come back to normal production as soon as it is possible and safe,” the company said in a statement.

A Volvo spokeswoman did not respond to emailed questions about whether Volvo planned to continue paying employees during the production halt and whether any layoffs were planned.

“Our primary concerns are the health of our employees and the future of our business,” Håkan Samuelsson, Volvo Cars CEO, said in a news release.

Volvo reopened its four manufacturing plants in China earlier this month.

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