Ford, GM And FCA Will Reportedly Close All Factories Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

March 18, 2020

(WWJ) Ford, General Motors and FCA will close all factories, the Associated Press is reporting.

The details of the closures are expected to be released later Wednesday, and the closures could come as early as Wednesday, according to two people briefed on the matter.

Sources say that FCA was planning to make the announcement, but all of the Big Three will now join them in closing.

It is not known how long the shutdowns will last.

Earlier Wednesday, Ford said it was temporarily suspending a portion of production at its Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne after worker tests positive for coronavirus. WWJ Auto Beat Reporter Jeff Gilbert reported that the final assembly building, not the entire plant, would close. The company said it planned to clean and disinfect the building, and other workers who came in contact with the infected employee will be asked to self quarantine. No details about the worker, including his or her condition, were immediately released.

The news from Ford came just a couple of hours after FCA announced it would shut down its Sterling Heights Assembly plant for the same reason.

The Big Three have, over the past week, been under a lot of pressure from the UAW to shut down plants. Despite that, the three said they agreed Tuesday night to remain open, while announcing some changes in the way they operate.

** READ — Letter Sent To UAW Members Regarding Coronavirus Outbreak **

Auto company officials said they would try to find ways to better separate workers who remain on the job, Gilbert reported, and that changes would include rotating partial shutdowns of facilities, extended periods between shifts for sanitizing of equipment, and more rotation of shifts. It now appears that it was decided that that wasn't enough.

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