Volkswagen furloughs 1,500 employees at Tennessee auto plant starting April 11

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Volkswagen stated Thursday it will furlough 1,500 employees at its U.S. assembly plant located in Tennessee starting April 11 as the industry deals with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The German automaker stated the temporary emergency furloughs for its production and maintenance workforce are anticipated to last not more than four weeks.

The automaker stated its main “objective is to protect the financial health of Volkswagen for the benefit of our team as we address the emerging and ongoing impacts of the COVID-19”.

VW said workers and production contractors at the plant have until now received full pay and benefits during the shutdown that started March 21.

Automakers are dealing with a dramatic decline in sales in the United States, the world’s second-largest auto market, after some states prohibited dealers from selling new cars while “stay-at-home” orders were put in place. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) this week extended its shutdown of U.S. and Canadian plants until May 4.

On Tuesday, Honda Motor and Nissan Motor stated they had furloughed thousands of employees at their U.S. operations.

A spokesman for Honda, which hires about 18,400 workers at plants located in Alabama, Indiana and Ohio, stated the Japanese automaker would guarantee salaries through Sunday, having postponed operations on March 23. The plants will remain closed through May 1.

Nissan said it was temporarily laying off about 10,000 American hourly workers effective April 6. It has postponed operations at its U.S. manufacturing facilities through late April because of the impact of the outbreak.

Toyota Motor stated this week it plans to resume its North American auto plants on May 4, extending its existing shutdown by two more weeks. Toyota said it will stop paying salaries for 5,000 employees provided by outside agencies.

About 522,188 people in the US have been confirmed as being infected with the coronavirus. The virus has killed 20,061 people in the country.

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