Toyota, Nissan and Honda gear up to restart Mexico plants

Toyota Motor, Nissan Motor, Honda Motor

Japanese automakers Toyota, Nissan and Honda stated they are gradually resuming plants in Mexico as the country’s automotive industry reboots in line with a broader economic reopening, even though numbers of new coronavirus cases continue to increase.

Mexican officials in mid-May stated the automotive industry could exit the coronavirus lockdown before June 1 if the authorized safety measures were in place.

The three Japanese companies have yet to announce official re-launch dates. Toyota Motor and Nissan Motor informed Reuters on Monday that they were preparing to gradually restart operations, and Honda Motor last Friday said it had start a gradual return to operations.

Mexico has reported 78,023 total infections and 8,597 deaths since the pandemic reached the country in late February, prompting concerns over re-opening the economy too soon. Last week the governor of Puebla state, home to major Volkswagen and Audi factories, said conditions “do not exist” for the auto industry to restart.

U.S. auto part maker Lear Corps asked 600 workers to report for work on Monday at its Rio Bravo plant in northern Mexico that provides Daimler AG and Ford Motor, it said in a message to workers. The plant had been the site of a coronavirus outbreak that Lear said killed 18 employees.

The company informed Reuters it was implementing safety protocols, but that no production had started in any Mexican facility.

Three Lear employees stated they worked over the weekend at Rio Bravo. In a message directed at workers who had finished safety training, Lear offered a 300-peso ($13.30) bonus per 12-hour shift on Saturday and Sunday.

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