Ford pushing production suspension beyond March 30 due to coronavirus response

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Ford is extending its North American production suspension indefinitely, it announced on Tuesday.

Ford idled its manufacturing facilities last week with initial plans to resume operations on March 30, but now says that date is no longer valid.

(Anthony Lanzilote/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

“Ford’s top priority is the health and safety of our employees, dealers, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders. In light of various governments’ orders to stay and work from home, Ford is not planning to restart our plants in the U.S., Canada and Mexico on Monday, March 30 as originally hoped,” Ford North America president Kumar Galhotra said in a press release on decision.

Several states, including Michigan, have instituted stay-at-home policies that stretch into April, although many positions in the automotive industry qualify as essential.

GM, Fiat Chrysler, Tesla and Honda have also suspended operations through March and have not publically updated their schedules, while Nissan and Toyota are targeting early April dates for factory employees to return to work.

ALG is now forecasting that U.S. car sales may drop from 17.1 million to between 15.3-11.2 million this year due to the economic disruption caused by the response to the coronavirus crisis.

Ford’s announcement comes as it begins offering assistance to medical equipment companies to increase the production of respirators and ventilators and is manufacturing its own face masks for first responders and medical workers.