Volkswagen, FCA and Tesla ready to resume car productionApril 28, 2020
Some US states have eased restrictions associated with the coronavirus pandemic.
The situation with COVID-19 has created a kind of patchwork quilt from state regulations for car manufacturers with factories in the United States to navigate, as discussions about the resumption of production are becoming more and more real. According to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), the level of COVID-19 infection in the US has not yet reached a peak, but some states, in particular Georgia, have announced that a number of local businesses may reopen. In addition, it is rumored that many automakers hope to reopen their plants in the near future.
In mid-March, around the time the first restrictions were introduced in the United States, UAW and the Big Three (Ford, FCA, GM) announced the creation of the COVID-19 / Coronavirus task force, which “would introduce enhanced protection for workers in production and warehouses.”
UAW President Rory Gamble is a member of this task force, along with GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra, Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford, Ford President and CEO Jim Hackett and FCA CEO Michael Manley. Gamble wrote a letter to UAW members on Friday criticizing the start-up of any factories too fast, thus expressing the union’s position. Automakers, however, are starting to have problems closing the plant.
In early April, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles said it hoped to resume production slowly in the US and Canada on May 4, and a company spokesman said today that this remains the company’s goal. The plan includes “new procedures to confirm the daily well-being of our workforce, as well as redesigning jobs to ensure proper social separation and expansion of already extensive disinfection protocols in all places.”
GM has not yet announced a restart date, and a company spokesman said the brand has “significant planning” to make the restart safe. “We are in constant contact with the federal, state and local authorities, our suppliers, UAW and our production team,” the representative said. “When people get back to work, whether for planning or for routine production, we will use screening, cleaning, and social distance strategies developed using the best medical and scientific data, including CDC guidelines.”
Ford at the weekend, the automaker said a small number of workers will be asked to return to work today. A spokeswoman told the local newspaper that “a small number of hourly and wage earners” would be asked to go to work in preparation for a possible restart.
Also on the weekend, there were reports that Tesla would call employees to work at a factory in Fremont, California, this week. The company sent employees an email informing them that production would resume on April 29, despite the fact that the local decree on self-isolation is valid until May 3.
Due to the fact that the number of cases of COVID-19 has officially decreased in China and South Korea, car factories have resumed their work in recent weeks. In addition, Volkswagen resumes production of cars at the Wolfsburg plant and plans to do the same at its Chattanooga, Tennessee factory on May 3.
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