Ford Further Postpones NA Production Restart to Protect Workforce

  • Ford is delaying its planned restart of certain North America plants to help protect its workers
  • In collaboration with GE Healthcare, Ford still is planning to produce an FDA-cleared ventilator at its Rawsonville Components Plant beginning the week of April 20, supported by paid volunteer UAW workers
  • Ford and autoworkers’ unions – especially the UAW – are working closely on initiatives to keep the workforce safe, including upgrading social distancing guidelines, requiring the workers to self-certify daily that they are not experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms – and more

in Ford, 31-03-2020

Ford is delaying the restart of production at its NorthAmerica plants to help protect its workers. The company had been aiming to restart production April 6 at Hermosillo Assembly Plant and April 14 at several key U.S. plants – and now has further postponed startup dates, which will be announced later.

“The health and safety of our workforce, dealers, customers, partners and communities remains our highest priority,” said Kumar Galhotra, Ford president, North America. “We are working very closely with union leaders – especially at the UAW – to develop additional health and safety procedures aimed at helping keep our workforce safe and healthy.”

Rawsonville Components Plant will restart the week of April 20 to produce the Model A-E ventilator, in collaboration with GE Healthcare, supported by paid volunteer UAW workers. The Model A-E ventilator is a basic, cost-efficient design that addresses the needs of most COVID19 patients. Production will quickly scale up to produce 50,000 ventilators by July 4 – helping to meet the growing demand in the U.S. Approximately 500 paid volunteer UAW workers will be building these ventilators. At this time, ventilator production will be the only work being done at
the Rawsonville plant.

“Today’s decision by Ford is the right decision for our members, their families and our nation,” said UAW International President Rory Gamble. “Under Vice President Gerald Kariem, the UAW Ford Department continues to work closely with our local unions and Ford to make sure that as we return to production all members are safe, and our communities are protected from this spreading pandemic.”

When Rawsonville Components Plant begins production of ventilators, the workforce will notice additional health measures in place. Workers will have to self-certify online every day that they are not experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms. If they are, they will not be allowed to work.

Work stations will be spaced at least six feet apart to maintain proper social distancing. Shifts will be separated so there is no contact between workers in the different shifts.



Latest on assembly plant closings

Plant closures roundup: Fiat, VW extend production stops.

in Automotive News Europe, by Staff and wire reports, 16-03-2020 (updated 31-03-2020)

Here is a roundup of factory closures:

Aston Martin

Aston Martin has halted production at its UK manufacturing facilities until April 20.


BMW started suspending production at its plants in Europe and Rosslyn, South Africa, on March 20. The shutdowns will last until April 19. The closures include Mini and Rolls-Royce operations in the UK.

Nedcar in the Netherlands, which builds some Mini and BMW models, has also paused production.


Daimler aims to reopen its Mercedes-Benz factories in Germany between April 20 and 22, reports Automobilwoche, a sister publication of Automotive News Europe.

The automaker’s plant in Hambach, France, is scheduled to resume output on April 20, while its factory in Hungary is due to reopen on April 22.

Mercedes production at contract manufacturer Magna Steyr in Austria has been halted until April 6.

Production of the Mercedes GLC at contract manufacturer Valmet in Finland has been suspended until May 5.

The automaker’s plant in East London, South Africa, will remain closed until May 5.

Daimler plans to resume output at its U.S. SUV factory in Vance, Alabama, on April 6 and in Mexico on April 13.


Ferrari extended the shutdown of its two Italian plants until April 14.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles 

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has extended production stoppages at its plants in Europe.

Factories in Italy remain closed after the government ordered a halt to non-essential activities until April 3. Originally the plants were due to resume production on March 27.

The stoppages in Italy affect the Mirafiori, Cassino, Pomigliano and Melfi plants where Fiat, Jeep and Alfa Romeo cars are built.

Maserati’s factories in Grugliasco and Modena also remain closed.

FCA’s Sevel joint venture plant with PSA that builds vans is also shut.

Fiat’s factory in Kragujevac, Serbia, which produces the 500L, remains shut until April 3. Production at the automaker’s plant in Tychy, Poland, will remain stopped until April 10.

Fiat aims to resume production of the New 500 electric car in Mirafiori and Jeep Compass output in Melfi on April 6 if Italy’s lockdown is removed or lightened. Production is also scheduled to restart on that date at the Sevel plant.

Fiat’s Tofas joint-venture plant with Koc Holding in Turkey is running as usual.

FCA’s plants in the U.S. and Canada, as well as its Detroit area headquarters operations and construction projects, will stay closed until April 14.


Ford suspended vehicle and engine production at its manufacturing sites in continental Europe on March 19. The company expects the closure will continue for a number of weeks. Ford also stopped output at its engine plants in Dagenham near London and Bridgend, Wales.


Honda suspended production at its factory in Swindon, England. Honda plans to resume output on April 6 but said the plant’s reopening will depend on advice from government and health authorities, as well as market and supply conditions.


Hyundai’s Czech plant suspended production on Monday, March 23, for two weeks. The automaker has paused production at its plant in Turkey plant until April 13.

Jaguar Land Rover

The company paused output at its UK plants and intends to resume production in the week of April 20. Production has stopped at its plant in Nitra, Slovakia.


Kia will re-open its plant in Slovakia on April 6, as planned, after it halted production on March 23.


Nissan said production at its factory in Sunderland, England, will stop until further notice. Nissan has temporarily laid off 3,000 workers at Spanish plants, Japan’s Nikkei newspaper reported.

PSA Group

The automaker is establishing a timetable for a “gradual and safe resumption” of industrial activities, PSA said in a statement. Plants building Peugeot, Citroen and DS vehicles, as well as Opel’s factories in Germany and Poland, and Vauxhall plants in the UK, remain closed.

PSA’s joint venture in China with Dongfeng Motor restarted production at its plant in Wuhan, the epicenter of China’s coronavirus outbreak.


Renault has paused production at all its plants apart from those in China and South Korea. Output will resume at the closed factories as soon as conditions permit, the company said.


Toyota said it would extend a suspension at all of its factories in Europe with the exception of Russia, with a restart expected no earlier than April 20.

Volkswagen Group

Volkswagen Group is extending its production suspension in Germany until April 9. The extension involves all its German plants for VW passenger cars, commercial vehicles and components, the company said in a statement.

VW brand plants in Pamplona, Spain; Setubal, Portugal; and Bratislava, Slovakia, are also closed.

In addition, the automaker has paused production in Russia.

VW’s Slovak unit extended a shutdown of its plants in Bratislava, Martin and Stupava until April 9.

Audi has stopped production at its factories in Ingostadt and Neckarsulm, Germany; Brussels, Belgium; and Gyor, Hungary.

Seat has halted all output.

Skoda extended a stoppage at its plants in the Czech Republic to April 14. Skoda output at contract manufacturer GAZ Group’s factory in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, is pausing from March 30 until April 10.

Porsche paused production on March 21 for an initial period of two weeks.

Bentley stopped production at its factory in Crewe, England, on March 21 for four weeks.

Bugatti suspended output at its factory in Molsheim, France, on March 20.


Volvo ceased production at its three plants in Sweden. The plants are scheduled to re-open on April 14.

Volvo also halted output at its plant in Ghent, Belgium. Production is scheduled to resume on April 6.


Nick Gibbs, Christaan Hetzner, Andrea Malan, Douglas A. Bolduc and Reuters contributed to this report









Interactive map: Employment impact of COVID-19 on the European auto industry

This interactive map shows the employment impact of the coronavirus / COVID-19 crisis on the European auto industry for each of the 27 EU member states plus the United Kingdom.

in ACEA, 30-03-2020

Employment impact, by country

Status on: 30/03/2020

  • The jobs of at least 1,110,107 Europeans working in automotive manufacturing are affected by factory shutdowns as a result of the current crisis.
    • That is out of a total of 2.6 million direct manufacturing jobs in the EU auto sector.
  • This figure only refers to those people directly employed by car, truck, van and bus manufacturers, the impact on the wider automotive supply chain is even more critical.

  • These are conservative estimates based on data currently available.
  • The actual number of people affacted is much higher, as there is a delay in data reporting and (complete) figures for various countries and/or production plants are not available yet.

Overall impact, by country


  • This is by far the most comprehensive EU-wide overview currently available, combining all known information and available sources.
    • The data is aggregated by ACEA and updated on a weekly basis using multiple sources, including IHS Markit, MarkLines, national automobile manufacturers’ associations and (public) announcements by manufacturers.
  • Nevertheless, it is important to stress that ACEA fully acknowledges that this overview is non-exhaustive, it merely serves as a tool to show the EU-wide impact of the crisis.


La producción de vehículos en España caerá un 60% en el mes de marzo

La pandemia del coronavirus ha provocado el cierre de las 12 plantas españolas que fabrican automóviles desde el pasado lunes 16 de marzo (algunas desde el viernes 13 de marzo). Este parón va a provocar que durante el mes de marzo se dejen de fabricar en España 157.000 vehículos, lo que supondrá una caída de entre el 50% y el 60%, según las previsiones de la patronal de fabricantes de automóviles española, Anfac.

in La Tribuna de Automoción, 26-03-2020

Por eso Anfac continúa exigiendo al Gobierno un plan de choque “específico” para la automoción que “permita relanzar y recuperar la producción a los nivele de principios de año”.

Sobre todo porque la producción en España durante los dos primeros meses, enero y febrero, previos a la crisis del coronavirus fueron positivos. Durante el segundo mes se ha registrado un aumento del 2,9% de la producción, con 262.449 vehículos fabricados, que acumulan 502.484 unidades producidas en los dos primeros meses, un 1,4% más que en el mismo periodo del año anterior.

Un dato positivo además si se tiene en cuenta que el mercado de la Unión Europea, principal destino de la producción española de vehículos, cayó un 7,4% en esos dos primeros meses hasta 1.913.931 unidades. Alemania registró la caída más significativa en las matriculaciones de febrero, con una rebaja del 10,8% así como Italia, con un 8,8% menos de entregas.

Para Anfac, “los vehículos españoles, en un entorno de menores ventas, tienen una buena aceptación en los mercados europeos”.


En cuanto a las exportaciones, en febrero salieron de España 216.649 vehículos, un 6,8% más que el mismo periodo del año anterior. En el acumulado anual se exportaron 400.159 vehículos, un 1,8% más, principalmente motivado por la buena aceptación en los mercados extranjeros de los modelos de producción asignados a las fábricas españolas.


El cierre de fábricas de automóviles en Europa deja a más de un millón de personas en paro temporal

En España, ha afectado a 60.000 personas y ha supuesto hasta ahora una pérdida de la producción valorada en 237.806 vehículos.

in La Tribuna de Automoción / Europa Press, 30-03-2020

El cierre de las fábricas acometido por los principales fabricantes de vehículos de todo el mundo, como consecuencia de la crisis del coronavirus, ha afectado en Europa a un total de 1,087 millones de trabajadores, que se han quedado temporalmente sin actividad.

Así se desprende de las cifras publicadas este lunes por la Asociación de Constructores Europeos de Automóviles (ACEA), que recogen también una reducción de la producción que afecta a 1,198 millones de vehículos a motor.

El impacto en el empleo hace alusión a los 27 Estados miembro de la Unión Europea, así como al Reino Unido, de un total de 2,6 millones de trabajadores que emplea la industria en el continente, lo que supone una afectación superior al 40% del total.


En el caso de España, el número de trabajadores afectados asciende a 60.000 personas y a una pérdida de la producción valorada en 237.806 vehículos. Alemania, por su parte, es el principal país afectado, con más de 568.000 trabajadores afectados y un volumen de producción de 359.287 unidades.

La cifra total de la pérdida en la fabricación de vehículos incluye turismos, camiones, furgonetas, autobuses y autocares, con una paralización de la actividad que está teniendo una duración media de 15 días, aunque estas cifras son provisionales, ya que la prolongación de las limitaciones aprobadas por los gobiernos continuarán afectando a la producción europea de vehículos.

ACEA ha obtenido estas cifras a través de una actualización semanal de múltiples datos, incluyendo IHS Markit, MarkLines, y a partir de asociaciones nacionales de fabricantes de automóviles y anuncios al mercado realizados por las compañías.


Grupo Iberomoldes vai produzir viseiras de protecção contra a Covid-19

Universo de empresas com sede na Marinha Grande liderado por Joaquim Menezes está a trabalhar com profissionais da saúde

in Jornal de Leiria, 29-03-2020

O desafio chegou ao Grupo Iberomoldes pela voz de médicos portugueses que procuram um produto mais sólido para responder às necessidades sentidas nos hospitais à medida que alastra o número de casos de Covid-19. O universo de empresas com sede na Marinha Grande liderado por Joaquim Menezes está a trabalhar com profissionais de saúde e vai começar a produzir viseiras de protecção contra o contágio pelo novo coronavírus. Este é um projecto desenvolvido de raiz e totalmente suportado em competências internas do Grupo Iberomoldes, que fornece os maiores construtores internacionais de automóveis e também está ligado à indústria aeronáutica.

Nos últimos dias, numa lógica de cooperação, os médicos ajudaram os engenheiros do Grupo Iberomoldes a desenvolver um modelo novo de viseira que pretender ser o mais adequado e duradouro possível na missão de proteger os milhares de profissionais – não só na saúde, mas também nas polícias, protecção civil e serviço social, entre outros exemplos – que continuam a trabalhar na primeira linha de luta contra a doença. E que se encontram mais expostos ao risco de contágio pelo novo coronavírus.

O projecto do Grupo Iberomoldes já tem protótipos e está agora na fase de desenvolvimento de moldes, a que vai seguir-se a injecção dos componentes em plástico, ou seja, o produto final, numa abordagem que segue todas as etapas típicas de um processo de industrialização.

Na quinta-feira, foi conhecido outro esforço de empresas de Leiria e Marinha Grande, em colaboração com o Politécnico de Leiria, também com o objectivo de produzir viseiras de protecção no contexto da Covid-19. Leia aqui: “Arranca a produção em massa de viseiras contra a Covid-19, numa aliança entre Politécnico e empresas de Leiria e Marinha Grande”.


Renault says all plants closed globally except in China, S. Korea

Renault said production at all its plants across the world has been halted due to the impact of the coronavirus crisis, apart from its plants in China and South Korea.

in Automotive News Europe, by Sudip Kar-Gupta | Reuters, 30-03-2020

“The Group plans to restart production activities in the countries concerned as soon as conditions permit and will implement appropriate measures to respond effectively to commercial demand,” Renault said on Monday.

Renault has shut down its industrial sites in France, its factory in Slovenia, its two car plants in Morocco, its plant in Turkey and a powertrain factory in Cacia, Portugal.

The company temporarily halted production at its seven factories in South America and paused output in India.

Automotive News Europe contributed to this report



Toyota’s European plants to remain closed until April 20

Toyota said it would extend a production suspension at all of its factories in Europe, with the exception of Russia, until further notice.

in Automotive News Europe, by Chang-Ran Kim | Reuters, 30-03-2020

The plants are not expected to resume output until April 20 at the earliest, Toyota said.

The measure was necessary because of the acceleration of the coronavirus in European countries and the associated lockdown measures taken by authorities, the automaker in a news release on Monday.

An uncertain short-term sales outlook and difficulties in logistics and supply chains that will increase in the next weeks also contributed to the decision, the automaker said.

Processes and projects essential to a smooth re-start and to the future activity of the plants, such as new vehicle projects, will be maintained with necessary staff, Toyota said.

Toyota has closed dealerships in countries with lockdowns, except for servicing and repairs of key vehicles, such as public safety vehicles.

With the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, Toyota had suspended production from mid-March in France, Britain, the Czech Republic, Poland, Turkey and Portugal.

Its Russian factory will be closed from March 30 to April 3, the automaker said.

Toyota has already halted production in all of North America.

Automotive News Europe contributed to this report


European sales forecast to plunge amid virus shutdowns

With factories and dealerships closed by the coronavirus crisis, European auto sales could fall by up to 20 percent this year, representing millions of vehicles, industry analysts and financial ratings services say.

in Automotive News Europe, by Peter Sigal, 30-03-2020

“The global auto industry is expected to witness an unprecedented and almost instant stalling of demand in 2020,” said IHS Markit, whose forecasts are used by many automakers and suppliers as a basis for strategic decisions.

IHS said it had downgraded its forecasts across “virtually all regions.”  The firm called the coronavirus pandemic “the single biggest risk factor facing the auto industry for many years.”

Global sales will fall by more than 12 percent this year to 78.8 million units, IHS forecasts, a downgrade of 10 million units from the company’s January forecast.  In comparison, the two-year “peak to trough” decline during the global recession in 2008-2009 was 8 percent.

Near-term global sales are forecast to fall sharply, followed by a slow recovery.

The company has downgraded its 2020 forecast for Europe (western and central Europe) by 1.9 million units, to 15.6 million, a decline of 14 percent over earlier forecasts.

The region “faces months of rolling disruption as the conjoined health and economic crises play out across economies,” IHS said.

U.S. auto sales are forecast to be 14.4 million this year, a 15 percent decline, and 2.4 million units fewer than prior forecasts.

Another forecaster, LMC Automotive, expects 2020 global light vehicle sales to fall below 77 million, a decline of nearly 14 million, or 15 percent below the 2019 level. “The environment remains extremely dynamic,” LMC said.

In the worst case, LMC said global sales could fall to 69 million. LMC said it had removed about 3 million units each from sales forecasts for China, North America and western Europe.

In January, LMC had forecast global sales to be flat from 2019, at 90.1 million units.

“A global market, with some growth headwinds from a slowing economy and trade still a risk in the background, quickly changed to a global market in chaos, a situation that is likely to remain for some time,” LMC said.

Morgan Stanley said European auto sales in 2020 will be around 12.5 million units compared with 13.7 million in its earlier prediction. In percentage terms, it now expects the market to fall by 13 percent compared with an earlier prediction of a 4 percent drop.

Global sales will fall by 8 million in the first half, Morgan Stanley said, representing a nearly 20 percent drop. It added that a previous forecast that 50 percent of that loss could be recovered in the second half “now seems unlikely.”

Chinese sales will fall by an additional 3 million units, or a 15 percent decline, and the U.S. market will fall by an additional 1 million units, Morgan Stanley said.

Europe 20% drop

Scope Ratings, a credit-rating service based in Germany, was the most pessimistic of the forecasters.

It said western Europe sales would fall about 20 percent for the year — representing some 3 million units — a decline worsened by a push to move higher-polluting models at the end of 2019 ahead of new EU emissions targets. That push artificially inflated sales last year, Scope said.

Scope also forecast that in economies dependent on crude oil and natural gas, such as Russia, demand could fall by more than 50 percent this year. Prices for those commodities have fallen sharply during the coronavirus crisis.


Coronavirus will cut UK car output by over 15%, trade body says

The coronavirus outbreak will cut British car output by more than 15 percent this year and the drop could be even bigger if closed factories have to stay shut for months, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said on Friday, urging the government to do more.

in Automotive News Europe, by Costas Pitas | Reuters, 27-03-2020

The sector, Britain’s biggest exporter of goods, employs more than 800,000 people with Jaguar Land Rover and Nissan building over half of the country’s cars at factories in central and northern England.

The outbreak has closed plants and it remains unclear when they will be able to open as the government scrambles to limit the pandemic.

Full-year output was already expected to dip slightly to 1.27 million this year but will now fall to 1.06 million, assuming Britain secures a zero-tariff deal with the EU due to kick in on Jan. 1, the SMMT said.

“The impact could be far more severe if the crisis, and therefore shutdowns, were to last for months instead of weeks,” the SMMT said.

“If we’re to keep this sector alive and in a position to help Britain get back on its feet, we urgently need funding to be released, additional measures to ease pressure on cashflow and clarity on how employment support measures will work,” CEO Mike Hawes said.

Automakers hope to make up for some of the lost demand depending on how quickly they can resume operations. Output in the first two months of the year is down 1.5 percent.

Britain’s automakers have also been hit with Brexit uncertainty and, like the industry elsewhere, have had to rapidly adapt to falling diesel sales, electrification, stricter emissions rules and investment in autonomous technology.

Last week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson called on companies to help fight the virus with automakers such as Ford involved in a consortium to produce medical ventilators.

“The entire industry stands ready to help the national effort, from production of essential medical equipment, to sustaining delivery of essential supplies, providing and maintaining emergency services vehicles and transporting key workers,” said Hawes.