A Glimmer of Hope as Honda Factory Reopens in Wuhan

Chinese city at the center of the coronavirus pandemic begins to rebound

White Honda being inspected in Wuhan, China factory
One of Honda’s factories in Wuhan, China in April 2019.
Visual China Group via Getty
By Alex Lauer / March 16, 2020 4:14 pm

Even before the novel coronavirus began spreading in Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak, the global auto industry was already in a tough spot. It had experienced year-over-year sales slumps, and now COVID-19 is forcing factories to close around the world. But now, it’s also offering a rare glimmer of hope. 

As the Detroit Free Press reports, a Honda car assembly factory in Wuhan has resumed production. The small return to daily life comes just a couple days after the New York Post reported that all 16 temporary hospitals in the city had been closed. So while Europe becomes the new epicenter of the pandemic, with the U.S. following close behind, the place where it all started seems to be getting back on its feet.

Those directly involved are cautiously optimistic, according to the Free Press:

Honda production “resumed with limited volume after a long suspension and may take time to recover to full” output, a spokesman said.

If you’re wondering how long it will take those Wuhan-produced cars to reach the U.S. — and how long the virus can survive on surfaces (answer: up to 72 hours, for plastic and stainless steel, at least) — don’t worry. As the Free Press notes, none of this plant’s vehicles are sold Stateside.

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