Tesla will suspend production at its Northern California assembly plant after a regional stay-at-home order is extended statewide, and other automakers expand their shutdown plans as the deadly COVID-19 virus continues to spread.
Tesla says it will halt manufacturing at its Fremont, CA, facility Monday but does not specify for how long. The electric-vehicle maker says in a news release it had “honored the Federal Government’s direction to continue operating,” but “Despite taking all known health precautions, continued operations in certain locations has caused challenges for our employees, their families and our suppliers.”
The company had continued to build cars following the issuance of a “shelter-in-place” order limiting most public activity in seven San Francisco Bay-area counties, arguing it was performing an essential service.
But Tesla announced it was shutting down Fremont on Thursday, when California Gov. Gavin Newsom extended the order statewide.
Tesla says it also will suspend production at its Buffalo, NY, plant, but its Nevada Gigafactory will continue operating.
Elsewhere, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles says it will shut down production at its North American facilities through the end of March. General Motors and Ford said earlier they would close their plants at least until March 30, but FCA had not immediately said how long its plants would be offline.
Volkswagen will suspend production at its Chattanooga, TN, complex for one week starting Saturday to “help ensure the health and safety of our team members as we conduct additional sanitation and cleaning procedures throughout the factory,” plant CEO Tom du Plessis says.
VW Chattanooga had shut down for one day, Monday, before announcing the weeklong closure Thursday.
Also suspending production for one week starting Saturday is the Subaru plant in Lafayette, IN, “to further ensure the health and safety of associates and to adjust volume for market demand as a result of COVID-19,” spokesman Craig Koven says.
The BMW USA plant in Spartanburg, SC, and the Mercedes-Benz factory in Vance, AL, continued operating Friday.