Ford Suspends European Production, First U.S. Employee Tests Positive for COVID-19
Amidst the spread of COVID-19 across the continent, Ford has announced that it will shut down European vehicle and engine production effective March 19. While Ford hasn’t provided a timeline for the suspension of production, it says that it anticipates “that this action will continue for a number of weeks.”
“While the impact of coronavirus at our facilities so far has been limited thankfully, its effects on our employees, dealers, suppliers, and customers, as well as European society as a whole, is unprecedented,” said Ford of Europe President Stuart Rowley in a statement.
Ford had already taken the step to close the Valencia assembly and engine facility in Spain on March 16 after three employees tested positive for the coronavirus. Effective Thursday, the Craiova plant in Romania and Cologne and Saarlouis plants in Germany will also shutter production temporarily. Essential work like maintenance and security will continue. Ford says that employees are being contacted with further information.
“It is at difficult times like these when we must stand united and put people first,” added Rowley. “We at Ford will play our part in the weeks ahead to help get through this crisis, reduce its spread and alleviate its effects wherever we can.”
First U.S. employee tests positive for COVID-19
According to Reuters, Ford announced on Tuesday that it has its first confirmed case of an employee testing positive for COVID-19 in the United States. A member of the product development team in Dearborn is said to have been exposed to the coronavirus after leaving work several days ago and had not returned to work since being positively diagnosed.
Ford on Sunday announced that it is teaming with Fiat Chrysler and General Motors as well as the United Auto Workers to form a COVID-19/Coronavirus Task Force aimed at protecting the wellbeing of employees nationwide. In a joint statement, the leaders of the task force — including Ford President and CEO Jim Hackett and Executive Chairman Bill Ford — said: “This is a fluid and unprecedented situation, and the task force will move quickly to build on the wide-ranging preventive measures we have put in place. We are all coming together to help keep our workforces safe and healthy.”
Ford has also announced plans to offer assistance to Detroit-area nonprofits as well as customers via Ford Fund and Ford Credit.
The spread of the coronavirus also forced Ford to postpone the long-awaited reveal of the 2021 Ford Bronco, which would have taken place today.
Coming Soon from Ford: 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E brings together performance and efficiency