Toyota restarts production at French factory

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PARIS — Toyota Motor Corp. has reopened its factory in Valenciennes, France, where it makes the Yaris small hatchback, five weeks after halting production because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Some operations continued during the shutdown, including work on future projects. Starting in 2021 the factory will build a small crossover that is likely to be based on the Yaris.

The current production, which started Tuesday on a limited basis, is focused on finishing production of the current-generation Yaris. A new version of the car is due later this year. Toyota is also re-starting powertrain plants in Poland to provide components to Valenciennes.

Toyota’s factory is the first to reopen in France. PSA Group and Renault have said that safety measures are being put in place at their factories, but neither has announced a date when operations will resume amid resistance from unions.

Toyota said last week that production in France would be limited to a single shift at first, with multiple safety measures put in place. Precautions include personal protective equipment (PPE) for every worker, keeping doors open or able to opened with elbows, and closing restaurants.

Reports on French television showed workers having their temperatures checked upon arrival at the plant, applying hand sanitizer and donning safety masks.

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Saurabh Shukla

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