Media Moves and News

U.S. car factories begin to reopen

May 18, 2020

Posted by Irina Slav

The U.S. auto industry is beginning to reopen with tightened health safety measures.

Ben Klayman and Nick Carey reported the news for Reuters:

The U.S. auto industry is slowly returning to life, with vehicle assembly plants scheduled to reopen on Monday and suppliers gearing up in support as the sector that employs nearly 1 million people seeks to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

General Motors Co (GM.N), Ford Motor Co (F.N) and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (FCA) (FCHA.MI) (FCAU.N) all have been preparing for weeks to reopen their North American factories in a push to restart work in an industry that accounts for about 6% of U.S. economic activity.

The New York Times’ Neal E. Boudette wrote:

In April, automakers, which were closing plants at various times, produced just 4,840 cars, pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles in North America, according to Automotive News, down from 1.4 million a year earlier. Sales of new vehicles in April fell by about 50 percent, according to Cox Automotive, a market researcher.

“The auto industry is America’s economic engine,” Ford Motor’s chief operating officer, Jim Farley, said during a recent conference call on the company’s reopening plans. “Restarting the entire auto ecosystem is how we restart the economy.”

Keith Lang from The Detroit News noted:

Automakers are gearing up for a production restart Monday that will depend on the availability of parts produced in Mexico, where concerns have been raised about potential under-counting of COVID-19 cases. 

Nearly 40% of all part imports into the U.S. come from Mexico, meaning the success of any domestic industry restart will rest heavily on a successful simultaneous rev-up south of the border. 

Mexico has reported far fewer coronavirus cases than U.S. and Canada, but experts have questioned the veracity of the nation’s reporting. Mexican officials say the virus has caused 4,477 deaths in Mexico, compared to 87,965 in the U.S. and 5,553 in Canada. 

 

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