Ducati has revealed it will be restarting production at its Borgo-Panigale factory following the extended hiatus enforced by the Covid-19 pandemic. The Italian manufacturer halted the production lines on March 23, forcing a mass reorganization of production schedules that greatly affected the brand new Streetfighter V4, Multistrada GT and Panigale V2 product lines.
Research and Development workers, however, are now back at their posts, and April 28 will see assembly workers returning with strict new Covid-19 measures put in force by the company.
Social distancing safeguards of six feet will remain, and all employees will be required to wear masks and gloves, with the factory lunch room enforcing a one person per four seat rule to ensure minimum physical contact.
Production will move from an eight-hour shift to two seven-hour shifts to allow for the lowest number of people in the plant at any given time. As for the remaining Ducati employees, operating remotely is still mandatory, including those in departments such as commercial, marketing, IT, personnel management, finance, purchasing and logistics, as well as designers and project managers.
The regulations come after a joint commission between Ducati and the union representative body, the RSU, that was formed two days after the first Italian individual was diagnosed with Covid-19 on February 23.
“We are ready to go, we have worked hard over the past few weeks to minimize any risk,” said Claudio Domenicali, Ducati’s CEO. “Despite this we will have to be extremely cautious and rigorous. The virus is still in circulation and we must therefore be careful to combat any possible form of transmission. This is the reason why all the people present in the factory will wear masks, we must protect the population from the presence of asymptomatic positives who, although in a very small percentage, are present today and will not be identified by the mandatory temperature test.”
As far as the pandemic’s economic impact on Ducati, Domenicali states: “The two-wheel market is highly seasonal, and the stop to production in March and April has already had negative effects on sales. We have a splendid order book; the brand-new Streetfighter V4 just launched but production was halted just one month after the start. Then there are also many orders for the Multistrada 1260 S Grand Tour and for the Panigale V2. We also have the empty warehouses of the Multistrada 950 and Ducati Scrambler 1100 PRO.”
With production slowly ramping back up, Ducati is the first mainstream motorcycle manufacturer to publicly declare they are going back to work, hinting at increased confidence that the worst of the Covid-19 crisis is behind both the company and Italy as a whole.