Industrial equipment manufacturer JCB has stopped production at all of its UK plants as disruption resulting from the coronavirus pandemic caused a huge reduction in global demand.

Graeme Macdonald,  JCB's ceo, said: "These measures are unprecedented in the history of JCB but are absolutely necessary to protect the business. As we continue to deal with the health implications of the Covid-19 pandemic, it has become more challenging to maintain business continuity in this volatile economic climate. JCB is a global exporter and worldwide demand for our products has dropped sharply as customers cancel orders and defer deliveries."

With countries like France, Spain and Italy going into lockdown, Macdonald said that key markets for construction equipment disappeared overnight.

"In light of this fast-changing situation, we need to re-plan our production and, as a result, manufacturing at all UK factories will cease for the rest of this week and all of next week. This will allow us to take stock of the situation, re-plan our order book, prioritise products that are definitely required by customers, and ensure parts and components are reassigned to support the production of these products," he added. 

JCB’s plant in Pudong, near Shanghai, ceased production last month. After several weeks of disruption, the factory is now fully operational again.