Munich (Reuters) – BMW wants to emerge stronger from the corona crisis in close cooperation with the state of Bavaria.
CEO Oliver Zipse announced on Wednesday that he would start mass-producing respiratory masks in Germany to enable the public and the company plagued by a production stop to return to normal. At the joint appearance in Munich, Bavarias Prime Minister Markus SOder confirmed his plan for a state purchase bonus that is intended to boost sales of climate-friendly cars. “It may even be an opportunity to improve the competitive situation internationally in favor of German manufacturers with an innovative bonus,” said the CSU boss.
“We are starting to manufacture respiratory masks ourselves,” said Zipse. BMW thus supports SOder’s efforts to set up domestic production for the product, which is mostly imported from Asia. Appropriate production facilities are on the way to Germany, added Zipse. “We will soon be able to produce several hundred thousand masks a day. This will protect both our employees and the general public.” According to the group, these are face-to-face masks, which the group has also been producing in China since the corona crisis. At the same time, BMW is increasing its donation to the State of Bavaria from existing stocks. In addition to 150,000 FFP2 masks for health workers, BMW is supplying one million simpler masks to the Free State for general purposes.
SOder had mentioned a public mask requirement on the previous day as a possible condition for the current exit restrictions and shop closings to be relaxed somewhat after April 19. However, the head of the CSU has repeatedly emphasized that the number of masks has not even been sufficient for health workers.
For its part, BMW has made production restart dependent on car dealerships being able to open again. Because of the pandemic, all sales outlets in Germany are closed, 80 percent across Europe and 70 percent in the United States. The car production at BMW is initially on April 30th on both continents. BMW, Volkswagen and Daimler are working flat out on precautions to protect their workers’ health when restarting.
“In coordination with our suppliers, we are currently preparing to gradually restart business operations as soon as the situation permits,” said Zipse. SOder pointed out that a restart of the automotive industry in Bavaria also depends on when its suppliers in Italy could start working again. According to the East Committee of the German economy, the supply chains in Eastern Europe will be restored much faster than in Italy.