The coronavirus has killed more than 630 people, mostly in China. Globally, it has infected over 31,400 people across 25 countries and territories.
Toyota, the world’s second largest carmaker, had been weighing whether to resume operations on February 10 as recently as Thursday. Car plants across China have been closed since late last month for an extended Lunar New Year holiday as authorities try to contain the virus.
But on Friday, a Toyota spokesperson told CNN Business that the company is preparing for “normal operation” to resume no earlier than February 17, and warned that there could be more delays.
“The situation varies depending on the plant and its supply of parts. Also, there are additional considerations that must be given to the guidelines from local and region governments, including things like logistics, so we cannot definitively say whether we will restart plant operations from February 17,” the spokesperson said.
The closure affects 12 plants — four car manufacturing plants and eight parts or component plants — that Toyota operates in mainland China with joint venture partners FAW Group and GAC Motor.
The global auto industry is heavily reliant on China, which makes more cars than any other country, and is also the world’s biggest market. Toyota, which makes 15% of its cars in China, is less exposed than other companies that have a larger presence in the country. But its executives have still expressed concern in recent days about the impact of the coronavirus.
Geely, parent company of Swedish car maker Volvo (VOLAF), also on Friday indicated that some of its plants will re-open after February 10.
“Geely factories [will] begin to start work on the 10th in a staggered phase,” a company spokesman told CNN Business.
Geely Auto Group has 19 production plants across China, according to its website.