Ford, Toyota and Hyundai extend shutdowns of their North American plants and Kia becomes one of the last automakers to announce plans to halt its U.S. operations as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to upend the automotive industry.
“In light of various governments’ orders to stay and work from home, Ford is not planning to restart our plants in the U.S., Canada and Mexico on Monday, March 30 as originally hoped,” Kumar Galhotra, Ford president-North America, says in a statement.
“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,” he says.
Toyota said last week it planned to close its North American manufacturing plants Monday and Tuesday and resume operations Wednesday. The automaker now says the plants will be shut through April 3, with its service parts depots and vehicle logistics centers continuing to operate.
“This action is being taken to protect the health and safety of our employees, key stakeholders and communities, as well as a result of the significant market decline due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Toyota says.
Kia Motors Mfg. Georgia resumed operations at its West Point, GA, plant (below) Monday after closing for two days last week. But the automaker now says it will shut down production for two weeks starting March 30, including “a previously planned shutdown April 6-10 for new model equipment changes.”While operations are suspended, Kia says it will perform additional cleaning and disinfecting at work stations throughout the plant.
Hyundai Motor Mfg. Alabama, closed since March 18 after a worker at its Montgomery, AL, production plant tested positive for COVID-19, says it has extended the shutdown there until March 31 “due to an anticipated decline in market demand.” The automaker says it will provide full pay and benefits for Montgomery employees during the closure.
Elsewhere, Mazda says it will suspend production for 13 days and run daytime-only shifts for eight days from Saturday to April 30 at its plants in Hiroshima and Hofu, Japan.
“Mazda has decided to adjust production at our global facilities in consideration of difficulties in parts procurement, the declining global sales and the uncertainty of future markets,” the automaker says.
Outside Japan, Mazda’s production site in Mexico shut down for about 10 days beginning Wednesday, and its AutoAlliance (Thailand) Co. site will suspend production for about 10 days beginning March 30.