Ford Motor stated on Tuesday it was delaying its plan to resume production at its North America plants because of the safety concerns for its workers amid the coronavirus crisis.
To generate cash, the automaker had said last week it was poised to resume production at some plants in North America as soon as April 6, bringing back such profitable vehicles as its best selling F-150 full-sized pickup, the Transit commercial van and SUVs.
However on Tuesday, Ford stated that although it had been intending to restart production at several key U.S. plants on April 14, it would now do so at dates to be declared later on.
“The health and safety of our employees, dealers, customers, partners and communities remains our highest priority,” stated Kumar Galhotra, president of Ford’s North American operations.
Still, the automaker will resume a plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan, during the week of April 20, that will make ventilators to treat patients affected by the coronavirus.
Michigan, which is home to a huge portion of the automotive industry in the country, has also become a hot spot in the pandemic. Schools and all but essential businesses have been ordered told to remain closed through at least April 13 in order to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Galhotra stated the automaker was working closely with the United Auto Workers (UAW) union to develop extra health and safety procedures to help keep hourly workers healthy.
“Today’s decision by Ford is the right decision for our members, their families and our nation,” stated Rory Gamble, UAW President.
Rival Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV stated last week it prepares to restart production in North America on April 13.
A spokeswoman for FCA stated the automaker was continuing to watch over the situation.
General Motors has closed its plants indefinitely and has not provided a date for vehicle production to resume. “Once it is safe to resume production, we will do so,” a GM spokesman stated.
About 212,980 people in the US have been confirmed as being infected with the coronavirus. The virus has killed 4,759 people in the country.