JLR Importing Parts In Suitcases Says Report

Sun 23rd Feb 2020

The global coronavirus outbreak is having a significant impact on the motoring industry with the supply-chain for car parts severely affected.

The situation is so serious that Jaguar Land Rover bosses have revealed that they have been bringing in car parts packed into suitcases in order to keep the vehicle manufacturing plants running.

The Daily Mail reports that due to the reliance on parts from virus-hit China, the JLR factories could run out of parts within a matter of days due to some components being missing. 

“We have flown parts in suitcases from China to the UK,” said JLR Chief Executive Ralf Speth.

“This is an issue for the complete car automotive industry.

“We don't know how long it will take before the supply chain comes on stream again in China.”

Jaguar Land Rover are not the only manufacturer affected by the crisis, but they have endured a significantly testing time with the slump in diesel sales, and at the start of the year announced that there would be 500 job losses, with production halted at two of its sites through March.

It’s not the first time that problems elsewhere in the world have hit manufacturers hard, the tsunami of 2011 hit Toyota and Honda production. 

According to Professor ManMohan Sodhi from University of London, the global supply chain of car parts was always at risk from external events. Speaking to The Daily Mail he said: “Two things characterise the mass auto manufacturers - low inventories at the auto plants and geographically concentrated suppliers. 

“Toyota suffered for these very reasons in the tsunami of 2011, and Honda suffered in the Thai floods the same year.
“Now it is 2020 and Jaguar's supply sources in China have been hit. The auto industry has been hit with the Evonik fire in 2012. Obviously, it is hard for the industry to de-risk its supply chain from geographical concentration.

He added: “In any case, now Jaguar has to see if there is a fall-back option in case manufacturing doesn't pick up in China in March. 

“One fall-back may be India, where the auto sector has seen a massive slowdown and therefore will have adequate capacity to provide alternative sources for Jaguar. 

“Whether Jaguar can get such suppliers and their supplies qualified in a reasonable amount of time is another story.”