Spanish plant owned by Denso, Fujitsu preparing to halt production as virus causes shortages

MADRID (Reuters) - A Spanish plant owned by Denso Corp and Fujitsu Ltd is prepared to halt some production of auto electronics components if necessary because of a shortage of parts from China due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The factory in Malaga expects to suspend its first production line - which assembles car audio components - from March 16, factory managing director Blanca Hermana told Reuters on Wednesday.

“We’re working so we don’t have to stop, and that’s what we’re hoping for. But we have taken the preventive measures to deal with this situation as the components are arriving with great difficulty,” Hermana said.

The factory is majority owned by Japanese auto parts supplier Denso, with information technology firm Fujitsu also holding a stake.

The stoppage of the audio line will affect 38 employees, but the suspension of other lines, making mostly auto electronics, could affect 336 out of 449 workers in the Malaga factory, according to Diario Sur, the main Malaga daily.

Hermana said the factory had so far been managing by using contingency supplies and shipments that were already on the way to Spain when the outbreak started in China, sending factories and workers into lockdown.

Although suppliers may have resumed work in China, deliveries take between three and five weeks.

Without giving details, she said other auto part suppliers were in a worse situation than the factory, and it was those who would likely be responsible for stopping the first car production lines in Spain, which is home to production for most car brands.

“Most of the parts needed to make cars in Spain are produced in China,” she said.

Reporting by Belen Carreno; Additional reporting by Sam Nussey; Writing by Jessica Jones; Editing by Alison Williams and Kim Coghill