According to Automotive News Europe, the SARS flu epidemic has forced car industry executives in southeast Asia, Europe and North America to take defensive measures.

Car makers and suppliers are limiting or banning business travel to Hong Kong, southern China and Singapore. Bosch, for example, is asking employees not to travel to these areas unless absolutely necessary. Bosch will modify its policy in line with travel advisories from German authorities or the World Health Organisation.

Other companies are cancelling events in the region, or have quarantined employees there.

No car maker has reported any employee deaths. But the flu epidemic has become a hindrance.

Honda is evacuating the families of 33 Japanese employees at its Guangzhou assembly plant in Guangdong province. The outbreak in Guangdong could create problems for many suppliers that operate factories there. Denso announced plans on April 1 to build air conditioners in Guangzhou - then restricted travel there just two days later.

Car makers are cancelling events in affected regions. Shanghai Volkswagen moved its April board meeting to Germany. GM cancelled a trip for journalists to South Korea and Shanghai. The paper's sister publication Automotive News cancelled an automotive conference scheduled for April 21-22 in Shanghai.

In Singapore, Delphi frequently disinfects its regional headquarters and closely monitors the health of employees. Other companies with regional headquarters in Singapore include DaimlerChrysler, BMW and General Motors, Automotive News Europe said.