Toronto, Ontario — Ford, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and General Motors announced Wednesday afternoon that all of the companies’ manufacturing sites in North America will close to counter the spread of coronavirus.
All Ford, FCA and GM manufacturing sites will be shuttered until Mar. 30, at the earliest. Production statuses will be re-evaluated on a week-to-week basis following Mar. 30.
A Ford spokeswomen confirmed that, for the time being, the automaker’s parts distribution facilities will remain open so they may supply parts to customers. The automaker is also repotedly working with the United Auto Workers union to restart U.S. production. It will suspend production at end of Thursday evening’s shifts and plans to thoroughly clean its facilities to help contain the spread of COVID-19.
GM management will be organizing the temporary shutdown “in a cadence” that will cause the fewest disruptions possible, the company said in a press release.
FCA has yet to release formal announcements, though the automaker suspended production at its Sterling Heights Assembly plant in Michigan after an employee there tested positive for coronavirus.
Wednesday’s closure announcement came after Rory Gamble, president of the UAW, and other representatives pushed for the Detroit Three to close up shop amid COVID-19 concerns.
“Today’s action is the prudent thing to do. By taking a shutdown and working through next steps, we protect UAW members, their families and the community,” said Gamble in a statement. “We have time to review best practices when the plants reopen, and we prevent the possible spread of this pandemic. We commend this bold step.”