Just last week, General Motors announced it would suspend North American manufacturing operations until at least the end of March in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Now, it’s looking like the closed GM plants won’t reopen until April.
That’s the latest news from a recent report from Reuters, which cites “people briefed in the matter.” According to GM’s original statement, the possibility that the GM plants would reopen will be “reevaluated week-to-week” after March 30th.
Earlier this week, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer ordered non-essential businesses to close until April 13th. It’s unclear at this time if automotive production falls under that category. Auto sales are not allowed, but auto repair is still considered essential.
Meanwhile, GM’s crosstown rival, Ford, says it will extend the suspension of manufacturing operations beyond March 30th, as reported by our sister publication, Ford Authority.
Fiat Chrysler Automotive (FCA) is also unlikely to resume production on March 30th. According to the United Auto Workers (UAW), two FCA union members have died as a result of the novel coronavirus.
As we covered previously, one GM employee in Michigan recently tested positive for COVID-19.
GM plants in Mexico and Canada are also shutting down as the automaker’s North American manufacturing operations come to a standstill. GM recently provided a schedule for the “systematic orderly suspension” of manufacturing at the various GM plants in Mexico.
Earlier this week, GM announced that it would draw $16 billion in credit as a result of the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although auto manufacturing has been suspended, one GM plant in Kokomo, Indiana, will be reconfigured to produce life-saving ventilator equipment. Originally designed to produce small electronic components for various GM vehicles, including engine, transmission, and airbag modules, as well as sensors and circuit board assemblies, GM is now working with Ventec to repurpose the facility to produce a high volume of much-needed medical devices.