Ford says it will not reopen its plants at the end of March, citing stay-at-home orders

The Ford Motor Co. Michigan Assembly plant stands idle in Wayne, Michigan, U.S., on Monday, March 23, 2020.

Anthony Lanzilote | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Ford said on Tuesday that it will not reopen its plants in North America on March 30 as originally planned because of various stay-at-home orders due to the coronavirus. 

“We are assessing various options and working with union leaders — including the United Auto Workers and Unifor — on the optimal timing for resuming vehicle production, keeping the well-being of our workforce top of mind,” Kumar Galhotra, Ford’s president of North America, said in a statement.

The company said it would provide additional updates once more details are confirmed. 

Ford originally closed its plants in the U.S., Canada and Mexico on March 18 after bowing to pressure from the UAW, which called for protection from the pandemic. The company had said it would work closely with the UAW in the coming weeks to restart plants and explore additional protocols and procedures to help prevent the spread of the virus. 

General Motors closed its plants until March 30 and said it would evaluate the situation on a weekly basis after that.

“As we announced last week, the suspension will last until at least March 30,” said David Barnas, a GM spokesperson. “Production status will be reevaluated week-to-week after that.”

Fiat Chrysler also ceased operations at its plants across North America through the end of March and said it will reevaluate the situation at the end of the hiatus. The company wasn’t immediately available for comment regarding the status of its plans to reopen. 

New research from IHS Markit previously found that shuttered auto operations could reduce global production this year by more than 1.4 million vehicles, creating an immediate cash crunch for automakers. However, it wasn’t clear whether production would resume after these initial closures, IHS Markit said. 

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