When Ford first announced the temporary shut down of their North American production plants, they also mentioned that production would immediately resume later this April. However, given the circumstances and the continuous spread of the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic around the world, it seems that won’t be the case.
Ford recently announced that they are delaying the planned restart of its North American production plants in order to protect its workforce. Initially, the automaker planned to restart production of the Hermosillo Assembly Plant on April 6 and several key U.S. plants on April 14. Given the gravity of the pandemic, these have now been further postponed indefinitely.
“The health and safety of our workforce, dealers, customers, partners, and communities remain our highest priority. We are working very closely with union leaders – especially at the UAW – to develop additional health and safety procedures aimed at helping keep our workforce safe and healthy,” said Kumar Galhotra, Ford president, North America.
Despite announcing the indefinite closure of Ford’s production plants across the US, the Rawsonville Components Plant will restart the week of April 20. However, this plant will not be building cars or vehicle components. Instead, they will be producing the Model A-E ventilator, in collaboration with GE Healthcare. In a previous announcement, the automaker expects to produce a total of 50,000 units by the end of July, helping reach the government quota. Approximately 500 paid volunteer UAW workers will be building these ventilators.
On top of its US production, Ford also announced that the restart of its European vehicle and engine plants will also be pushed back further. The automaker says that the temporary closure of its European production facilities will be extended until May 4. However, it all depends on the coronavirus situation this April as the restart could still be moved back further if needed.
Ford, however, made no followup announcements regarding their facilities in India, Vietnam, South Africa, and Thailand just yet, but we expect the same scenario. The initial announcement said suspension in India, Vietnam, South Africa, and Thailand was expected to last only "weeks". But given the continuous spread of the disease, it might take until May before production finally resumes.
Facilities in South America have likewise been suspended with regards to production operations.
Only one region in the world has largely resumed vehicle production, and that's China.