The deadly coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China, is rippling through the supply chain, forcing companies with operations in the country to react.
In an effort to curb the virus outbreak, the Chinese government announced Jan. 27 it was extending the Lunar New Year holiday to Feb. 2 nationwide, with local governments in several provinces and cities delaying the return to work and school even longer.
As manufacturing facilities close temporarily, several suppliers within the plastics and automotive sectors are scrambling, including French automotive supplier Novares Group SA.
The company has closed its two production plants and one technical center in Wuhan, as recommended by Chinese authorities. As a result, Novares has declared force majeure and notified customers — many of whom are facing similar problems, according to Novares CEO Pierre Boulet.
"In Wuhan, roads are blocked, factories are closed and the whole of China is affected," Boulet said in emailed responses to Plastics News. "Customers outside Wuhan will have to wait until the factories reopen."
At the Wuhan factories, Novares produces plastic engine and interior components for automaker customers such as Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. and PSA Group. It employs about 170 in Wuhan. In total, Novares has more than 500 employees in China across six cities.
The company has halted travel to and from China until further notice and remains attentive to any new directives from Chinese authorities or world organizations, Boulet said.
"Novares is investigating the situation with its suppliers," he said. "At the level of China, it is necessary to foresee disturbances still at least a month after the recovery."