FAW Group , China’s oldest carmaker and once a symbol of the Communist Party’s manufacturing might, has not yet fixed a date for the resumption of production at its five assembly lines in Changchun, in China’s northeastern Jilin province. FAW , which produces a range of marques, from Volkswagen and Toyota to China’s iconic Red Flag limousines, initially halted production between March 13 and 16 to help the city contain an Omicron variant-fuelled outbreak of Covid-19. But the severity of the outbreak stopped it from restarting production on Thursday, March 17. And it has not yet fixed a date for the restart, said two sources with knowledge of the matter. “Given its role in the local economy and its leading position in the mainland’s automotive market, FAW’s production suspension could have an impact on the country’s car making industry,” said Ivan Li, a fund manager with Shanghai-based Loyal Wealth Management. “All eyes will be on how soon those assembly lines can start working again.” The closure at FAW has increased the pressure on Jilin’s economy – it employs 150,000 workers at its assembly lines in Changchun. An internal document by the city’s industry regulator showed that the total number of workers affected by the shutdown topped 280,000. This number included workers involved in the supply chain feeding FAW. All of the carmaker’s production facilities remain shut and its workers are staying home amid the city’s efforts to contain the outbreak. There are concerns that the assembly lines could add fuel to Changchun’s outbreak, which has kept local and company officials from making a decision, a FAW source said. Wanda forms venture with struggling Red Flag to sell cars in China Since the beginning of March, Changchun has reported about 4,000 Covid-19 cases, of which 3,760 were symptomatic. On Friday, the Communist Party’s anti-corruption watchdog in Jilin announced that Gao Yutang, director of the Changchun health commission, had been fired for failing to sufficiently prepare, mobilise resources and supervise the city’s health authorities during the outbreak. Founded about 70 years ago, FAW, formerly known as First Automotive Works, is the carmaker behind China’s Red Flag limousines, which were used to ferry the country’s senior officials and were a huge source of national pride. The company also manufactures Audis – black Audi A6s were widely used by senior government officials across the mainland between the late 1980s and the early 2010s. The Changchun Audi plant under the FAW-Volkswagen venture is able to assemble 150,000 Q5L sport-utility vehicles a year. The joint-venture between FAW and Toyota manufactures the Land Cruiser, Prius and RAV4 models in Changchun. The Chinese carmaker’s combined annual capacity at all of its plants in the Changchun Economic and Technology Development Zone stands at 3 million units, according to estimates by China Business News . A week of suspension could translate into a loss of about 60,000 cars. Last year, FAW reported sales of 3.5 million vehicles, down 9.4 per cent year on year, but it raked in 707 billion yuan (US$111.1 billion) in revenue, up 1.4 per cent from 2020. In January, the company said it had set a full-year sales target of 4.1 million units for 2022. .