Geely-owned Volvo Cars has said it is also suspending car production at its European and US plants.

The Belgium plant (Ghent) will remain closed until April 5. The Swedish and US plants will be closed between March 26 and April 14, the company said.

The corona pandemic is now ‘severely affecting Volvo Cars in many ways, in the form of a weakening market, a risk for production disruption as well as concerns for the employees’, Volvo said.

The company said it is implementing a period of social distancing. This means production closures, working from home and taking more personal precautions.

People working in Volvo offices ‘will generally work from home as of March 26 and working hours will be reduced’.

These actions, Volvo said, will ‘secure jobs and ensure that Volvo Cars can come back to normal production as soon as it is possible and safe’.

Earlier this month Volvo Cars reopened its four manufacturing plants in China after an extended closure period. It also said ‘today´s showroom traffic is indicating a return to normal in China’s car market which is clearly demonstrating the advantages of being a globally balanced company’.

“Our primary concerns are the health of our employees and the future of our business,” said Håkan Samuelsson, chief executive. “With the help of valuable supporting programs put in place by governments and authorities, we have been able to act quickly.”

The Volvo Cars manufacturing plants impacted by the measures announced today are located in Torslanda, Skövde and Olofström (all Sweden), Ghent (Belgium) and South Carolina (United States). The affected office employees work at the company’s headquarters in Gothenburg, Sweden, as well as at the Ghent plant and in its markets.