Ford to keep Europe manufacturing operations offline at least until May 4

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Ford Motor on Friday extended the temporary halt of vehicle and engine production at the majority of its European manufacturing sites at least until May 4.

The company’s shares dropped over 2% to $4.25 in the New York stock exchange.

The automaker stated earlier month that the suspension would last for a “number of weeks” depending on the intensity of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

“The automaker’s production restart plans depend heavily on the pandemic situation in the weeks ahead, national restrictions in operation at the time, supplier constraints and the ability of our dealer network to operate,” the company stated.

Last week, Ford posted a 12.5% drop in U.S. auto sales for the first quarter.

The company’s U.S. sales chief has stated that once the crisis eases, some level of government stimulus will be required to support car buyers in the face of an unprecedented drop in sales and increasing claims for unemployment benefits.

About 679,859 people in Europe have been confirmed as being infected with the coronavirus. The virus has killed 53,289 people in the continent.

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