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Automakers Respond To Coronavirus


From Mary T. Barra, CEO of General Motors

As the coronavirus continues to evolve, we have important updates to our working policies to share.

If the nature of your work allows for it, we are asking all GM employees and contract workers to work remotely, beginning Monday, March 16. This policy applies globally, apart from our team in China, which has existing protocols in place. Please speak with your direct manager about what this means for you.

Contract workers should contact their employers for further direction.

These are important steps to lower the probability of spreading the coronavirus to coworkers, families and communities and to relieve the burden on public resources. It also helps conserve critical resources like cleaning crews, medical staff, and supplies so they can be deployed where they are most needed.

These are extraordinary times and we are focused on navigating the situation responsibly. Our IT tools and systems have been extensively stress-tested; it’s vital that we leverage them to continue delivering. We need you to stay in close contact with your leader and your teams to ensure continuity of work.

Of course, not all of our teams are able to work remotely. We are taking every precaution to ensure our teams remain safe and are adjusting manufacturing, Global Product Development, Customer Care and Aftersales and Contact Center work schedules to allow for additional cleaning. Given the current drop in use of public transportation and extensive flight cancellations, our customers are looking to us more than ever to ensure they have the vehicles, parts and services they need. Thank you to everyone for helping to ensure that we continue to deliver.

We will be posting updates regularly. Government policies vary by country; please make sure you work closely with your leader to stay compliant in your area.

I understand how uncertain these times feel. For many of us, it’s our first experience of this type. But disruption and trying circumstances are not new to us. Especially in times like these, we demonstrate our flexibility, agility and resilience. This team always rises to the occasion and just as we have in the past, we will chart our course.



From Ford Motor Company

DEARBORN, Mich., March 31, 2020 – Ford is delaying the restart of production at its North America plants to help protect its workers. The company had been aiming to restart production April 6 at Hermosillo Assembly Plant and April 14 at several key U.S. plants – and now has further postponed startup dates, which will be announced later.

“The health and safety of our workforce, dealers, customers, partners and communities remains our highest priority,” said Kumar Galhotra, Ford president, North America. “We are working very closely with union leaders – especially at the UAW – to develop additional health and safety procedures aimed at helping keep our workforce safe and healthy.”

Rawsonville Components Plant will restart the week of April 20 to produce the Model A-E ventilator, in collaboration with GE Healthcare, supported by paid volunteer UAW workers. The Model A-E ventilator is a basic, cost-efficient design that addresses the needs of most COVID-19 patients. Production will quickly scale up to produce 50,000 ventilators by July 4 – helping to meet the growing demand in the U.S. Approximately 500 paid volunteer UAW workers will be building these ventilators. At this time, ventilator production will be the only work being done at the Rawsonville plant.

“Today’s decision by Ford is the right decision for our members, their families and our nation,” said UAW International President Rory Gamble. “Under Vice President Gerald Kariem, the UAW Ford Department continues to work closely with our local unions and Ford to make sure that as we return to production all members are safe, and our communities are protected from this spreading pandemic.”

When Rawsonville Components Plant begins production of ventilators, the workforce will notice additional health measures in place. Workers will have to self-certify online every day that they are not experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms. If they are, they will not be allowed to work. Work stations will be spaced at least six feet apart to maintain proper social distancing. Shifts will be separated so there is no contact between workers in the different shifts.

Ford and the UAW are also working on several high-tech solutions to help keep our workforce safe. As developments unfold, we will share additional details.



From Hyundai Motor America

The safety, health and well-being of Hyundai employees, customers, business partners and the communities where we do business is of the utmost importance during the current coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic. Hyundai has established a coronavirus (COVID-19) response team at all affiliated companies to monitor the situation, minimize the risks and prepare for all potential scenarios.

The following is an update on the coronavirus (COVID-19) impact at Hyundai’s U.S. operations and the proactive and preventive measures each has taken. This information will be updated in real-time.

Hyundai Motor America

  • All employees are working from home.
    1. In compliance with California Governor Gavin Newsom’s “Safer at Home” order, the Hyundai National Headquarters building in Fountain Valley, CA is closed.
  • Suspended all travel.
  • Reinstated the Hyundai Assurance Job Loss Protection program.
    1. Hyundai will make up to six months of payments for new owners who lose their jobs and have purchased or leased their vehicle between March 14 to April 30, 2020 through Hyundai Capital.
    2. For select new purchases through April 30 financed by Hyundai Capital, Hyundai is deferring payments for 90 days at the customer’s request.
    3. New TV spot on the program now running in place of all previously scheduled Hyundai TV advertising.
  • Offering a complimentary three month extension of Hyundai’s Blue Link® Connected Care service, which includes SOS Emergency Assistance, Enhanced Roadside Assistance and Automatic Collision Notification, for customers with accounts expiring March 20 through the end of May.
  • Providing all full-time employees up to 10 extra days of paid time off for those directly impacted by the coronavirus.
  • Offering short term vehicle leases for employees with college students who can benefit from temporary transportation while they are home during school closures.
  • Distributed the CDC recommendations on preventative measures to reduce the spread of respiratory viruses, including coronavirus to all employees.
  • Readily provided hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes at headquarters and all of the regional offices.
  • Increased the cleaning frequency of high-touch areas like door knobs/handles, elevator buttons, and counter tops.
  • Restricting visitors at all Hyundai facilities.
  • Suspended training sessions at all Hyundai Training Centers.
  • Expanded cleaning of Hyundai press fleet vehicles and no contact vehicle delivery and pick ups.

Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama (HMMA)

Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama (HMMA) will extend its suspension of production of automobiles in Montgomery, Alabama, until April 10, 2020. The plant will resume production on April 13, 2020.

As COVID-19 cases escalate across the U.S. and Alabama, we are taking this action to protect the health and well-being of our fellow team members and communities. In addition, we must adjust vehicle production to match the anticipated economic impact of the pandemic. 

HMMA’ s approximately 3,000 team members will continue to be compensated until April 3, 2020. From April 6 through April 9, team members can choose to use vacation time for compensation. Good Friday, April 10, is a paid holiday.

Team members will be encouraged to follow Center for Disease Control and Alabama Department of Public Health protocols for reducing the risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus such as frequent hand washing, sheltering in place and social distancing.

During this shutdown period, approximately one hundred team members will continue to be on site each day to support essential functions. HMMA will continue to clean high traffic and high touch surfaces throughout our facility during the shutdown.

The rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic is requiring Hyundai to carefully manage its manufacturing operations to adjust production to the foreseeable market demand. We will continue to monitor the situation and take appropriate action in a timely manner.

This suspension will reduce production by approximately 10,000 vehicles. HMMA previously announced the suspension of operations from March 23 thru March 31.

Hyundai U.S. Dealerships

  • Regular communications with dealerships and provided the CDC’s recommendations for preventative measures businesses should take to keep their employees and customers safe.
  • Additional cleaning of Hyundai vehicles in for service.
  • Provided dealerships with a variety of financial assistance.
  • Deferred floorplan interest, increased incentives and other accommodations for dealers who finance their floorplan with Hyundai Finance.
  • Dealerships closely monitoring the situation in their local communities and acting accordingly based on state, county and city ordinances.


From Nissan Group of North America

The safety and well-being of Nissan employees is always our highest priority. Starting March 16, we are directing those with the ability to work remotely to do so until further notice. This action is out of an abundance of caution to help reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus and to allow us to redeploy resources for the employee populations who are unable to work remotely.

Nissan will also temporarily suspend production of its manufacturing facilities in the U.S. starting March 20 through April 6. The company is taking this action to boost containment efforts where possible around the COVID-19 coronavirus. Currently, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 coronavirus at any Nissan facility. Areas deemed business-essential will operate with enhanced safety measures. 



Mazda North American Operations

In a message to company employees, Mazda North American Operations President Jeff Guyton writes:

Team,

Each day, news of the coronavirus, its scale and human impact, continues to grow. Many of us know individuals who are already affected, or we are experiencing uncertainty about what will happen in our own communities.

These are challenging times for everyone, and I’m here to say Mazda is with you. Our company has seen its fair share of challenges over the last 100 years, and I am confident that our resilience and challenger spirit will help us navigate the coronavirus and all that comes with and beyond it.

While there have been no confirmed cases in any of our MNAO offices, it is our responsibility to try to keep it that way by prioritizing your health and well-being. Through that lens, a rapid response team is actively monitoring the situation and will continue to make decisions designed to keep us safe and healthy during this time.

We plan to provide regular updates in order to minimize uncertainty in the coming days and weeks. We will also begin posting all updates on the intranet homepage shortly.

My dad was a doctor. His constant advice to me as a child was “keep your hands washed, and keep them away from your face, especially your eyes and nose.” That was good advice then and it appears to be doubly so now. Please take care of yourself, your families and your communities as we’re all in this together.

On Tuesday, March 24, the below statement was issued by Mazda Corporate in reaction to the coronavirus.

Mazda Motor Corporation would like to express our deepest sympathy and concern for all those who have been suffering from the novel coronavirus outbreak and extend our sincere condolences to the families of the deceased.

In response to the global spread of the novel coronavirus, many countries have been quickly and extensively reinforcing their infection prevention measures, including curfew implementation, retail business suspensions and restrictions on corporate activities. Mazda has decided to adjust production at our global facilities in consideration of difficulties in parts procurement, the declining global sales, and the uncertainty of future markets.

Mazda plans to suspend production for 13 days and operate daytime-only shifts for eight days at the Hiroshima Plant and Hofu Plant from March 28 to April 30. Mazda intends to transfer part of the production originally scheduled for this period to the second quarter of the fiscal year ending March 2021 or later as we monitor how the situation develops. During this period, administrative operations will be undertaken as usual.

Outside Japan, Mazda de Mexico Vehicle Operation, our production site in Mexico, will shut down for approximately 10 days, beginning March 25, and AutoAlliance (Thailand) Co., Ltd., our production site in Thailand, will suspend production for approximately 10 days, beginning March 30.

Mazda places the highest priority on health and safety of local residents, customers and employees, and will continue to take infection prevention measures such as teleworking and sanitizing the Mazda offices and dealerships.



From Honda North America

As the unprecedented economic impact of the fast-changing COVID-19 pandemic worsens, Honda continues to evaluate conditions and make temporary adjustments to its production operations in the U.S. and Canada.

In addition to the impact of COVID-19 on the marketplace, stay-at-home orders in many cities and states prevent consumers in a number of markets from purchasing new vehicles. As a result, Honda must continue to suspend production in order to align product supply with a lack of market demand.

The following actions are in response to the continued steep decline in sales across the automobile and powersports industries:

Automobile
Honda is extending the production suspension previously announced for all of its automobile, engine and transmission plants in the U.S. and Canada through May 1. Honda began its automobile production suspension on March 23.

Powersports
Honda of South Carolina Mfg., Inc. (HSC), which produces powersports products including ATVs and side-by-side vehicles, is extending the production suspension through May 1. HSC originally suspended its production on March 26.

The affected auto plants include:

Ohio:
Marysville Auto Plant
East Liberty Auto Plant
Performance Manufacturing Center

Indiana:
Honda Manufacturing of Indiana

Alabama:
Honda Manufacturing of Alabama

Canada:
Honda of Canada Mfg. – Plants 1 & 2

Mexico:
Honda de Mexico – Celaya Auto Plant

The affected powertrain plants include:

Honda Transmission Manufacturing of America (Ohio)
Honda of America Mfg. Anna Engine Plant (Ohio)
Honda Precision Parts of Georgia (Georgia)
Honda of Canada Mfg. Engine Plant (Canada)
Honda de Mexico – Celaya Transmission Plant (Mexico)



From Toyota

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and decline in vehicle demand, Toyota is further extending the length of its production suspension at all of its automobile and components plants in North America, including Canada, Mexico and the U.S. The manufacturing facilities will remain closed through May 1, resuming production on May 4.

Our service parts operations and finished vehicle logistics centers will continue to operate in order to meet the ongoing needs of our customers.

The safety and security of our employees, stakeholders and community are a top priority and we will continue to monitor the situation and take action in a timely manner.



From Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA)

FCA continues to take important steps to help flatten the curve of the spread of COVID-19 and put the health and safety of our workforce, and the communities where we live and work, first. FCA plants across the U.S. and Canada, as well as headquarters operations and construction projects, are intended to remain closed until April 14, dependent upon the various states’ stay-in-place orders and the readiness of each facility to return to production.

The Mopar Parts Distribution Centers, which have been deemed essential to keeping first responders and commercial vehicles on the road, will continue to operate with paid volunteers. The status of production for FCA’s Mexico operations will be subject to a separate announcement.

FCA continues to work collaboratively with the UAW and Unifor to expand upon the extensive program of cleaning and social distancing protocols that already have been implemented across all of our facilities to safeguard our employees. 



From Volkswagen

The health and safety of our team remains our highest priority. Volkswagen Chattanooga will remain closed next week, extending the shutdown period which began March 21. We plan to resume production Sunday, April 5 at 10 p.m.

We will continue to provide full pay next week for all team members at the factory. Employees who are able to telework, such as office staff, will continue to do so. We’re asking all employees to self-quarantine and maintain social distancing as directed by the CDC.

The health and safety of our team remains our highest priority. In recent weeks we have taken the following precautionary steps:

  • Implementing heightened sanitization and cleaning procedures throughout the factory as well as on our transportation shuttles.
  • Installing sanitation areas in high-traffic zones of the plant.
  • Provided all production, maintenance and production support staff with paid time off March. 16 to plan and assess childcare needs in response to school closures.
  • Postponing all events at the Volkswagen Academy and Conference Center.
  • Implementing social distancing procedures in business-critical trainings, and postponing all non-critical training and classroom activities.
  • Closing general access to our onsite fitness center, and postponing all volunteer exercise classes.
  • Keeping doors open as much as possible to limit contact.
  • Limiting visitors to business-critical, and conducting safety screening questionnaires.
  • Prohibiting all business-related travel, domestic and international.
  • Sharing healthy best practices from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) via internal communications channels.
  • Providing daily updates to all employees regarding our activities.


From Volvo Car Group 

The corona pandemic is now severely affecting Volvo Cars in many ways, in the form of a weakening market, a risk for production disruption as well as concerns for the employees. The company´s primary focus is the health and safety of all employees. Precautionary measures and travel restrictions have already been taken.

Now, there is a need to further reduce the spread of the virus by going into a period of social distancing. This means production closures, working from home and taking more personal precautions.

The Belgium plant will remain closed until April 5. The Swedish and US plants will be closed between March 26 and April 14. People working in our offices will generally work from home as of March 26 and working hours will be reduced.

These actions will secure jobs and ensure that Volvo Cars can come back to normal production as soon as it is possible and safe.

Earlier this month Volvo Cars reopened its four manufacturing plants in China after an extended closure period. Today´s showroom traffic is indicating a return to normal in China’s car market which is clearly demonstrating the advantages of being a globally balanced company.

“Our primary concerns are the health of our employees and the future of our business,” said Håkan Samuelsson, chief executive. “With the help of valuable supporting programs put in place by governments and authorities, we have been able to act quickly.”

Volvo Cars is confident that these measures strike the right balance between mitigating the continuing impact of the pandemic and protecting its people and the company’s future.

The Volvo Cars manufacturing plants impacted by the measures announced today are located in Torslanda, Skövde and Olofström (all Sweden), Ghent (Belgium) and South Carolina (United States). The affected office employees work at the company’s headquarters in Gothenburg, Sweden, as well as at the Ghent plant and in its markets.



From Mitsubishi Motors North America CEO Fred Diaz

These are trying times for everyone, and I wanted to reach out to you personally about what we are doing here at Mitsubishi Motors to support our employee team and you, as a past, present, or future Mitsubishi Motors vehicle owner, in this time of COVID-19.

As of Monday, March 16, all Mitsubishi Motors North America headquarters and regional team members are working remotely from a home office for their safety and the safety and well-being of their families. With schools closed in many areas of the country, this has made it easier for our team members to react to their changing needs at home as well.

While working from home, the Mitsubishi Motors team is committed to continuing support for our many dealer partners across the United States, including providing them with additional guidance on cleaning and sanitizing their facilities. Each and every Mitsubishi Motors dealership is an independently owned business, and they are part of your community. Most dealers are still able to provide the sales, service, advice and support you need, and many have also put in place remote drop-off ability or other ways to minimize person-to-person contact.

If you currently own a Mitsubishi vehicle that is financed through Ally, our financial partner, you may contact them for up to 120 days of payment deferments. If you should decide that now is the time to purchase a new vehicle, Ally is also offering up to 90-days deferred payments on your purchase, depending on individual credit. This is all to make it easier for those impacted by business slow- or shut-downs to ensure you continue to have access to safe, reliable, innovative transportation.

This situation will pass soon, and when it does, I want you to know that Mitsubishi Motors will be here to continue to support your long-term purchase and service needs.

We’re in this together, let’s all help each other. Take care, stay safe, and thank you for your trust.



From Automobili Lamborghini 

Automobili Lamborghini has intensified measures taken against Coronavirus in support of new government directives, closing its premises from 13 March until 25 March 2020. 

Stefano Domenicali, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Automobili Lamborghini comments: 

“This measure is an act of social responsibility and high sensibility towards our people, in the extraordinary situation in which we find ourselves right now in Italy and which is also evolving abroad due to the worldwide spread of Coronavirus. As we have done up until now, we continue to monitor the situation in order to react rapidly and with the right flexibility, in collaboration with our people and in order to restart with energy in the right moment.”



From Bugatti

Bugatti is suspending production of its hyper sports cars in Molsheim from today, March 20th, 2020. The various necessary regulations implemented by European governments to combat the COVID-19 pandemic make it impossible, amongst other things, to maintain the supply chain of production and spare parts.

In addition, it is almost impossible to deliver vehicles completed in the Atelier to their owners due to the travel restrictions. Bugatti supports the regulations that have been implemented by European governments as well as the recommendations of health experts and will intensify the measures already taken.

“Today we decided to suspend production to protect our staff and prevent the COVID-19 pandemic from spreading to our sites,” says Stephan Winkelmann, President of Bugatti. “In this extreme situation, our social responsibility demands that we take such a drastic step. For us, the health of our staff and their families, our customers, our business partners and suppliers has top priority.”

There has already been a ban on business travel in recent weeks. Through the expansion of mobile work wherever possible, most employees have also already been working from home for some days. Now, the employees who have been working directly on the French hyper sports cars will also stay at home for the time being. Special protective measures additionally apply to employees with a particular health risk due to pre-existing conditions related to their heart, lungs and a weakened immune system.

Bugatti would like to remind everyone that we are all advised to adhere to the recommendations issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and their respective local governments to stop the spread of the virus. These include:

  • Thoroughly washing your hands
  • Keeping to the guidelines on coughing and sneezing
  • Refraining from shaking hands
  • Touching your face as little as possible
  • Keeping your distance from persons that are visibly suffering from respiratory illnesses
  • Generally staying at home whenever possible

Stephan Winkelmann would like to thank all Bugatti employees who have been developing, producing or selling extraordinary vehicles over the past weeks and months with commitment and passion despite the coronavirus crisis. He would particularly like to thank medical support staff who have been exceptional, true heroes in all regions, particularly in France’s Grand Est region.

“Over the coming days and weeks we will continue to keep a close eye on the situation in France, Germany and throughout the world to be able to quickly react to any changes. As soon as the situation permits, all employees will return to their usual workplaces. Until then, I hope that all staff members and Bugatti enthusiasts stay healthy,” concludes Stephan Winkelmann.



From Bentley Motors

Bentley Motors will suspend production at its Crewe, UK, factory headquarters for four weeks.

This decision is based on the accelerated rate of infection by coronavirus and understandable restrictions applied, the resulting interruptions in supply chain that will soon be seen, as well as declining demand on some automotive markets. But most importantly the decision is to protect the health of Bentley’s many colleagues, their families and communities.

Core business functions will continue throughout the shutdown with colleagues either based in Crewe, following social distancing policies, or working remotely. Production will not start again until 20 April.

Adrian Hallmark, Chairman and CEO of Bentley Motors, said: “The well-being of our colleagues is our number one priority and although this was a difficult decision to take, and doesn’t change our strategic direction, it was necessary to protect them as best we can during these unprecedented times. This will inevitably have an impact on our deliveries to customers, and we apologise for the inconvenience this causes, however we are working hard to minimize this disruption. Our thoughts continue to go out to all those affected around the world throughout this very sad and difficult time for so many people.’

To protect its employees, Bentley had implemented further measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, for example, changing operations at company canteen and shops, introducing safe behaviours and closing the company gym facilities. As a general principle, all meetings will be held by Skype or video and all major events have been postponed or cancelled.



From Jaguar Land Rover

In light of the ongoing coronavirus situation, Jaguar Land Rover has confirmed that it will temporarily suspend production at its UK manufacturing facilities over the course of next week. The company’s intention is to resume in the week of 20 April, subject to review of the rapidly-changing circumstances. 

As a responsible business, Jaguar Land Rover is operating in line with advice from the NHS and Public Health England to minimise the spread of the coronavirus, whilst implementing plans to safeguard its business continuity. The company will work towards an orderly return to production once conditions permit. 

Currently, Jaguar Land Rover’s manufacturing plants in Brazil and India continue operating. The company’s joint venture plant in China reopened in the week of 24 February, as life begins to get back to normal in the country. 

Although the company’s focus must be on its business and responsibilities to employees, Jaguar Land Rover is doing whatever it can to support its communities through the current situation. The company’s thoughts are with those directly affected by COVID-19 and with the healthcare professionals, whose role in combating this virus is appreciated by all.



From INDYCAR

Due to ongoing concerns over the COVID-19 “coronavirus” pandemic conditions, INDYCAR is postponing the first four events on the 2020 calendar, including this weekend’s Firestone IndyCar Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

Other events suspended include the April 5 Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, the April 19 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, and the April 26 AutoNation IndyCar Challenge at the Circuit of the Americas.

The 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season now is scheduled to resume with the May 9 GMR Grand Prix of Indianapolis, on the road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The end of this weekend’s event also means the SRO Touring Car America’s double header race weekend at St. Petersburg will not take place.

Official Statement from INDYCAR:

“After careful consideration, including regular communication with our event promoters, health officials, and the city administrations in our respective race markets regarding COVID-19, we have made the decision to halt all NTT INDYCAR Series events through April. This begins with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg which was to begin today and run through Sunday, March 15 and continues through the AutoNation INDYCAR Challenge at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas which was to take place April 24-26.”

“Although we are disappointed to delay the start to this INDYCAR season and will miss our incredible fans who support us each year in St. Petersburg, Birmingham, Long Beach, and Austin, the safety of our fans, participants, staff, partners, and media will always remain our top priority. We will continue to coordinate with public health experts and government officials as we determine the appropriate plans for resuming our schedule.”


For more information on the Coronavirus:

From the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention: Steps to avoid infection.

From the World Health Organization: Understanding the Coronavirus.

From our home state of Michigan: Recommendations from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (PDF).

The Automoblog staff covers automotive industry news, trends, and technology along with new vehicle releases. Automoblog is owned and operated by Gearhead Media LLC., based in Detroit, Michigan and Berlin, Germany.

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  1. What a time to be in the automotive industry! I am extremely biased toward Tesla for a number of reasons, but interesting to see the response of the other manufacturers. It is way out there

  2. I Gareth’s comment regarding Tesla – great to see what all the big companies response have been to COVID, it’s nice to read some sense during these times

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