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One of Britain’s biggest brake pad manufacturers came close to forced shutdown due to ‘pingdemic’

  • One of Britain’s biggest brake pad manufacturers nearly forced into a complete shutdown due to ‘pingdemic’
  • TMD Friction saw 15 per cent of staff forced into isolation after being pinged by NHS app
  • Situation could have had huge impact on car manufacturing with companies already feeling effect of staff shortages

Time 1 month ago

One of Britain’s biggest brake pad manufacturers says it was nearly forced into a complete shutdown by the so-called ‘pingdemic’ in a move that had the potential to devastate new car production.

TMD Friction said that at its worst point, 15 per cent of UK staff were forced to isolate after being pinged by the NHS app, the BBC reports.

Tom Russell, the firm’s UK operations manager, says that the situation created ‘an awful lot of stress and heartache’ and had the potential to temporarily bring the company to a standstill.


Of those employees pinged by the app, 40 per cent were in the firm’s maintenance teams, leading to a backlog of machines needing to be repaired.

A complete shutdown at the company could have had a profound affect on new car production, with plants already suffering from the pingdemic themselves.

Last month, Car Dealer reported Rolls Royce was reaching a ‘critical point’ due to staff shortages resulting from workers being pinged.

Elsewhere, more than ten per cent of the workforce at Nissan’s Sunderland plant were forced to isolate.


A lack of brake pads would also have added to a number of existing supply issues for carmakers, including the ongoing semiconductor crisis.

TMD Friction counts the likes of Nissan, Jaguar Land Rover and BMW Group among its passenger car partners.

Russell has now welcomed a change to isolation rules, which means that double-vaccinated people do not have to isolate if they come into contact with a positive case.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme: ‘It didn’t get too far too far away from that to be honest (complete shutdown).

‘There were a couple of points particularly with the maintenance team where we had a backlog of machines that we couldn’t get repaired quickly enough because we didn’t have the maintenance staff.

‘When you have got people going off isolating at a moment’s notice it’s very difficult to try and react and keep operations balance, so definitely this change will have a massive impact, positively.

Jack Williams's avatar

Jack joined the Car Dealer team in 2021 as a staff writer. He previously worked as a national newspaper journalist for BNPS Press Agency. He has provided news and motoring stories for a number of national publications including The Sun, The Times and The Daily Mirror.

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