In Mid-March 2020, the Automaking Factories in North America announced closure. Fear of corona virus led to a halt of auto production in North America. General Motors, Ford, Fiat Chrysler, Honda, Toyota, and Nissan all put a stop to their North American factories. This forced hundreds of companies to follow suit. Some autoworkers were given sick pay, many only received portions of their income and others rely on unemployment insurance.
Many companies said that they would be closed until March 30th, Honda would close six days beginning March 23rd. However, Toyota, Honda, and Fiat will not be reopening their factories at the end of the month as they had planned. COVID-19, the virus that has taken the world by storm, spreads and dampens demand for new cars, trucks, and SUVS.
Fiat said Thursday that plants across the U.S. and Canada as well as headquarters’ closures will be extended until April 14. Though, the date is dependent upon the different states’ quarantine orders and how ready the factories are to get back to work.
The factory idling have resulted in a loss of production of over 1,465,415 motor vehicles. Ford had said they would reopen factories, but is now expected to run at least until the 27th of April (some factories having a much further suspension due to the differing countries’ situations concerning the pandemic). Honda had extended a shut down of US and Canadian car plant production through April 10th, and has since extended it to May 4th.
Ford has decided to make 50,000 face shields at factories to assist in the fight against COVID-19. A jump in the amount of digital vehicle sales has occurred in China as a change in how dealers approach sales in the origin of the outbreak has been observed.
Meanwhile, “If we can protect employees we can get work done,” says the GM manufacturing chief. “Costs will be managed.” While closures have been extended again and again because of the growing pandemic, auto manufacturers are taking steps and making moves to try and get their factories back in business.
They are enforcing multiple different systems to protect their workers while opening factories. Workers who call in sick can take time away from work without any penalty. Employees are handed masks, and their temperatures are screened so as to ensure the absence of fever. Meals have been moved to the end of shifts so that employees can eat their food elsewhere and leave a half hour earlier without their income taking a loss.
These new systems and precautions do take a hit at productivity, but at least work is getting done. Workers spend time putting on extra gear, doing extra cleaning, and spreading out workers.
Major automakers are dealing with the crisis in different ways. A handful have taken steps to figure out precautionary measures to continue work, but after multiple reconsidered announcements of activation of factories— there really is no telling when the factories will reopen.