The London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC) has warned suppliers that it will not be able to fulfill payments for a least a month, reports suggest.
A letter seen by Sky News was written by the Coventry-based electric taxi and van maker to its production partners earlier this month. It says the firm has invoked a 'force majeure' clause in its contract, increasing the difficulties automotive suppliers face during the coronavirus pandemic.
LEVC, owned by Chinese giant Geely, told suppliers that "despite LEVC's implementation of measures to minimise the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic to maintain production and keep its offices and sites open, the situation has escalated beyond control."
It continued: "As a result, we will be unable to meet our obligations in relation to [your] agreement including, without limitation, our ability to: schedule future orders, process and receive supplies, permit access to our site, process payments; or otherwise continue to provide normal supplier support services."
The letter claimed the force majeure clause would remain until at least 1 May, although given it was sent earlier this month, that may be extended further. Responding to Autocar's request for comment, LEVC released a statement:
"The temporary suspension of manufacturing and adjustment to production schedules has resulted in a requirement to notify its production suppliers of a force majeure situation for a short period of time. LEVC’s business plan for this year remains unchanged and the company is committed to a long term relationship with all of its business partners, and looks forward to returning to full production of the TX electric taxi as soon as possible.”
LEVC shut its manufacturing operations in Coventry on 26 March along with the majority of the industry, with no definite re-opening date. However, with factory restarts slowly commencing across Europe, some firms in the UK are preparing for a return to production.
Vauxhall has begun preparations for a safe re-opening of its Ellesmere Port factory, although no date has been given. Nissan is also undergoing safety tests at its Sunderland plant, with a production restart expected in the coming weeks.