Ford, GM, Chrysler suspend production at all US, North American plants

Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler are suspending production at all North American plants in an effort to help prevent the spread of the coronoavirus (COVID-19), the companies announced Wednesday.

The suspension of operations at Ford will begin after the evening shifts on Thursday, March 19, while GM said it will close its facilities in a cadence being determined by manufacturing leadership, with both firms instituting the stoppage until March 30.

“In these unprecedented times, we’re exploring unique and creative solutions to support our workforce, customers, dealers, suppliers and communities,” Ford North America president Kumar Galhotra said.

“GM and the [United Auto Workers union] have always put the health and safety of the people entering GM plants first, and we have agreed to a systematic, orderly suspension of production to aid in fighting COVID-19/coronavirus,” said GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra.

“Today’s action is the prudent thing to do. By taking a shutdown and working through next steps, we protect UAW members, their families and the community,” UAW president Rory Gamble said in press releases issued by Ford and GM.

“Working with the UAW and listening to the concerns of our people, we have agreed to cease production at our plants across North America, starting progressively from today through the end of March,” Fiat Chrysler added. “Working with the UAW, and having visited many of our plants yesterday, we need to ensure employees feel safe at work and that we are taking every step possible to protect them. We will continue to do what is right for our people through this period of uncertainty,” CEO Mike Manley said.

CLICK HERE FOR COMPLETE CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE

The three Detroit automakers formed a task force with the UAW that originally came to an agreement Tuesday night to maintain production as new protective measures were put into place. However, Ford and Fiat Chrysler on Wednesday morning announced the closure of one plant each after employees tested positive for the virus.

The firms announced they will use the downtime to sanitize the facilities and devise new plans to resume operations as safely as possible.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

All three companies initiated work at home programs for white-collar employees in recent days.

Honda has also suspended North American production through March 31. Nissan announced late Wednesday that it will be idling its facilities from March 20 to April 6, but does not have any reported cases of COVID-19 among its workforce.

Hyundai has closed its Montgomery, Ala., factory after a worker there tested positive, and Toyota plans to shut all of its U.S. factories for two days next week for cleaning.

Fox News' Mike Arroyo contributed to this report.