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March 19, 2020

U.S. Auto Manufacturing Grinds to a Halt

The U.S. “Big Three” will now idle their manufacturing facilities in the United States, Canada, and Mexico at least until the end of the month due to COVID-19.

General Motors, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles issued statements separately regarding their decision to idle production—marking a costly and dramatic step to battle the pandemic that automakers had hoped to avoid.

Before the complete shutdown, the three automakers initially wanted to just slow down its manufacturing opting to put enhanced safety measures in place. That all changed though when a Ford worker at its Michigan assembly plant tested positive, while the Illinois plant that makes the Explorer suspended operations after its supplier closed after a worker there got the virus.

For FCA, two COVID-19 cases were detected among its workers, and this prompted them to close down their manufacturing through the end of March. And while General Motors hasn’t said if any of its workers contracted the virus, they are doing the same to “keep their plant environments safe” and because “it’s the right thing to do now.” A person did test positive, but at the GM Technical Center.

While not part of the U.S. Big Three, American Honda will also halt production at its five assembly plants and three powertrain plants in North America as will Hyundai at its assembly plant in Alabama and Nissan in Tennessee.

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