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Apr
30

COVID-19 and plant closures: The automotive industry’s response to the pandemic

Ferrari factory

Closed.


Ferrari
For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO website.

As the novel coronavirus continues to spread across the world, automakers are taking extreme measures in the form of plant closures to halt the spread of COVID-19, the disease the coronavirus causes. The situation remains fluid as more European companies suspend work and US automakers extend shutdown periods.

Here are all the automakers and companies that have elected to halt production in the US and Europe so far. Information on Detroit’s Big Three begins our coverage, followed by all other shutdowns organized by the date automakers announced them. We’ve also compiled a full list of automakers returning to work with plants restarted in some capacity.

Ford

Ford shut down all European and North American production on March 19 to help combat the spread of COVID-19. While Ford intended to reopen facilities and restart production on March 30, the company on March 31 delayed that goal indefinitely. However, it plans to start ventilator production at one of its US facilities on April 20. Production of Ford vehicles and engines across the pond is expected to resume on May 4 at the soonest.

General Motors

GM joined Ford on March 18 in announcing a total suspension of all North American production starting March 19. The automaker said it would pull its facilities offline in a “cadence” and each plant would receive specific instructions. GM hasn’t made any announcements regarding when its plants will resume normal production, but it is building ventilators and masks at two US GM facilities. The automaker made the decision to build personal protective equipment on its own before the Trump administration forced it to do so by invoking the Defense Production Act.


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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

FCA joined Ford and GM on March 18 in announcing it would suspend all North American operations to help stop the spread of COVID-19. While GM and Ford haven’t established new dates to restart production, FCA told Roadshow on April 7 it now plans to bring workers back on May 4. An FCA spokesperson originally told Roadshow the automaker’s Italian plants could open on April 14, but as of April 15, the company said it will continue to follow guidelines from the Italian government. The country will remain in a lockdown state until May 3, which leaves a production start at least a few weeks away. The automaker will evaluate other European plants in the coming weeks.

Kia

Kia on March 24 said it would suspend production at its manufacturing plant in Georgia starting March 30. The shutdown will last two weeks, and includes a previously planned suspension to retool for new vehicles. The automaker originally planned to restart production on April 13, but named April 27 as the new target date. Kia did not immediately return a request for comment to learn if manufacturing operations has restarted.