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Detroit Car Makers Target May 18 U.S. Restart Date

Apr 28, 2020 | By CENS

Ford`s assemble plant in Michigan 
(Photo courtesy of Associated Press)Ford`s assemble plant in Michigan (Photo courtesy of Associated Press)
Detroit's car companies are targeting May 18 to resume some production at their U.S. factories after the companies shut down their plants in March amid the spread of the coronavirus, according to people familiar with the plans.

Executives from General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV in recent days tentatively settled on the timeline after talks with United Auto Workers leaders and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's office, the people said.

The companies continue to work with the union on drawing up safety protocols for reducing exposure risk for workers and have made progress in recent days, although they haven't finalized those terms, the people said. A UAW spokesman declined to comment.


Last week, Ms. Whitmer extended an executive order closing the state's nonessential businesses through May 15 to combat the state's outbreak. Her administration has declined to specify whether auto assembly is considered an essential economic activity under the order. A heavy concentration of the companies' factories and their supply base is in Michigan, and automakers so far have voluntarily idled their plants.


The car companies have said they will provide protective gear for workers when they return and will try to maintain social-distancing protocols in their plants through measures such as dividers between work stations.

The Detroit companies began closing their factories around March 20, as positive Covid-19 cases at car factories began popping up and much of American society went into lockdown. Fitch Ratings estimates Ford burned through at least $8 billion in cash in the first month of the shutdown, while GM used at least $5 billion.




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