FCA hopes to restart North American operations shuttered by coronavirus in mid-April

Byron Hurd



FCA hopes to restart operations at North American facilities idled by the coronavirus pandemic on April 14, the company announced Thursday, extending the duration of its proposed shutdown by at least 14 days. 

The announcement confirms reports that auto companies planned to move back their restart date from the original target of March 30. Month-over-month sales are expected to decline as much as 40% in March as local governments began ordering residents to shelter in place to slow the spread of the virus. 

FCA joined GM and Ford in shutting down plants through at least the end of March last week, as concerns regarding the spread of coronavirus prompted the United Auto Workers union to request measures beyond simple disinfecting and distancing practices, including the suspension of operations. 

"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," its announcement said. "The Company 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."

No decision on operations in Mexico has yet been finalized, the announcement said.

FCA's parts distribution and service support network remains open, as it is considered an essential arm of the business. Approximately 2,000 temporary FCA employees were released this week as the company tried to reduce overhead in the midst of the crisis. 

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