Ford resets its timetable for reopening several North American production plants currently closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The plants are being brought back online “while the company introduces additional safety measures to protect returning workers,” Kumar Galhotra, Ford president-North America, says in a statement released Thursday.
The Hermosillo, Mexico, Assembly Plant is to resume operations on one shift April 6. Ford plans to resume vehicle production April 14 at the Dearborn (MI) Truck Plant; Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville, KY; Kansas City (MO) Assembly Plant’s Transit line; and Ohio Assembly Plant in Avon Lake, OH.
Ford says it also plans to resume production April 14 at the Dearborn Stamping Plant and Dearborn Diversified Manufacturing Plant in Michigan; integrated stamping plants within the Kansas City and Kentucky Truck plants, the Sharonville (OH) Transmission Plant, and portions of the Van Dyke Transmission and Rawsonville Components plants, both in Michigan, and the Lima (OH) Engine Plant.
“We will continue to assess public health conditions as well as supplier readiness and will adjust plans if necessary,” Galhotra says.
Ford’s Michigan facilities would reopen one day after a stay-at-home order issued by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is to expire. Ohio’s stay-at-home order is in effect through April 6, while Kentucky has no such order in place.
Under Ford’s timetable, the Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo in Clay County, MO, would reopen 10 days before a stay-at-home order in effect for the county expires. A message seeking comment on the automaker’s plan was left with the Clay County Environmental Health Department.
UAW President Rory Gamble says in a statement: “The UAW continues to review with great caution and concern decisions being made about restarting workplaces, especially at advanced dates.
"These decisions should be informed by data and where each state is on the contagion curve. The UAW maintains that strict CDC guidelines need to be adhered to at all worksites and that prior to reopening, sufficient data and protections are in place to ensure the safety of our members, their families and the public. The only guideline in a boardroom should be management asking themselves, 'Would I send my family -- my own son or daughter -- into that plant and be 100% certain they are safe?'"
General Motors and Fiat Chrysler have closed their U.S. and Canadian manufacturing facilities through the end of March.
Elsewhere, Honda says it has suspended production at two of its non-automotive plants until April 6 due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Honda of South Carolina will halt production of all-terrain (above, left) and side-by-side vehicles at its plant in Timmonsville, SC, due to an anticipated decline in market demand. Honda Power Equipment will shut down its Swepsonville, NC, plant due to parts supply issues. HPE makes a variety of power equipment products, including general purpose engines, lawnmowers, water pumps, snow throwers, generators and mini-tillers.