Update 3/26/2020: Fiat Chrysler announced that it intends to keep its plants and headquarters closed through April 14. Ford plans to reboot production at the Hermosillo, Mexico plant on April 6 and keep its U.S. plants closed until April 14.
All of Detroit’s Big Three automakers announced last week they would suspend production at their North American assembly plants through March 30. However, Reuters reports that as current coronavirus pandemic continues, all three plan will extend the shutdown into April.
For its part, Ford issued a statement saying it was “not planning to restart our plants in the U.S., Canada and Mexico on Monday, March 30 as originally hoped.” According to sources brief on the matter, neither General Motors or Fiat Chrysler would not resume production on that date either. At the moment, Ford reportedly plans to restart production a week later — on April 6 — but nothing is certain at this point. In their original statement, General Motors said it would reevaluate the situation week-to-week.
As workers contract COVID-19 in increasing numbers, it’s not clear exactly where and how quickly the three automakers would resume production, even if the situation improves in the coming weeks. The state of Michigan also issued an order shutting down all “non-essential” businesses through April 13. Dealers are included in that order, though they can operate their facilities to make repairs, just not sell vehicles.
Right now, auto industry analysts are currently expecting March 2020 sales to suffer by as much as 40 percent compared to this time last year. Since dealers in some states are barred from selling any vehicles in the wake of the ongoing pandemic, actual sales numbers could look worse than that prediction. Most American manufacturing plants — including all Ford, GM and FCA plants — have shut down at this point, which will exacerbate vehicle sales in the coming months as well.
The United Auto Workers (UAW) union is calling on all automakers to put the health and safety of its members first. That includes not only proactive measures, but adhering to stay-at-home orders as issued by state and local governments.