Currently the whole world is in a strange limbo as the strictest lockdown restrictions are lifted, but life has not yet returned to anything like what we would have described as normal just a few short months ago.

Most industries are being forced to adapt and innovate as they embark on the challenge of restarting and rebuilding. The motor industry is leading the way on this as it works towards the aim of getting fully back on track in a hugely altered landscape.

Restarting the production line

This summer, car factories across the globe are opening again, however the pandemic has meant that car manufacturers have had to take stock and rethink their strategies for the post-Covid climate. For example, Nissan has designated Sunderland as the new base for its European car production. While this decision is a huge blow for the 3,000 workers at the Barcelona plant, which will now be closed, it will safeguard 6,000 jobs in the North East of England and is a great boost to the industry in the UK.

Not only that, the increased manufacturing activity in Sunderland is good news for UK consumers. This is because under Brexit proposals, from 2021, a 10% import tariff is set to be introduced for cars built in Europe and imported to the UK. This would make every car bought in the UK £1, 500 more expensive on average, so from a consumer’s point of view, the more cars that are manufactured in the UK, the better.

The new normal on the production line

With Rolls Royce and Jaguar Land Rover also resuming production, it is fair to say the British car manufacturing industry is very much back in business. But how does the post-pandemic production line look?

The first Range Rover made under new social distancing rules rolled off Jaguar Land Rover’s production line in Solihull in late May and involved the following measures:

  • Enforcing the 2-metre social distancing rule where feasible
  • The provision of PPE equipment including a reusable face visor made by the company for each employee
  • One-way systems and enhanced cleaning
  • Temperature checks with thermal cameras

Before returning to work, each employee is required to monitor their temperature at home and complete an online health questionnaire. The company have also introduced a mandatory health and wellbeing charter and are asking employees to adopt the mantra, ‘Stay safe. Be kind. Stay well.’

A boost for the motor industry?

Although the car manufacturing industry is proving itself ready and willing to take on the challenge ahead, any stimulus to help it do so will be very welcome. With that in mind, the industry is waiting in hopeful anticipation of recent reports in the press of a new scrappage scheme to announced by the government on July 6th. If the reports are true, the scheme will result in discounts of up to £6,000 for car buyers. Currently the plan is thought to be restricted to new electric and hybrid cars, but the Society of Motor Manufactures and Traders (SMMT) is calling for it to include new petrol and diesel cars too. Although this would be more expensive, it would certainly have a greater effect on boosting the economy and stimulating car manufacturing.

Innovating to meet new needs

As manufacturers of innovative sealing solutions, we at Interflex relish the opportunity to find cost-effective solutions to meet the needs of the modern motorist. So, it was with great interest that we saw the comments from Kia that Covid-19 will influence the design of cars as well as the manufacturing process. The company’s design chief Karim Habib spoke to Car Magazine about how the industry is now thinking about ways to make vehicles’ interiors more resistant to germs including the use of virus-resisting materials like copper, the use of antiviral coatings and even the use of temperature to control viruses.

This promises to be an exciting area for development across our industry and one that we are excited to be a part of.

State of the art adhesive solutions for the motor industry

Interflex manufacture innovative acoustic, NVH and sealing solutions for the car manufacturing industry. For more information, please contact us on or 01949  861494.