Ford, GM and Fiat Chrysler will close all factories amid coronavirus outbreak, sources say

Posted at 11:44 AM, Mar 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-18 14:14:47-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler will close all of their factories due to worker fears about the coronavirus, sources tell 41 Action News sister station WXYZ-TV in Detroit.

The details of the closure are expected to be released later Wednesday, and the closures could come as early as Wednesday.

General Motors announced that "it will begin a systematic orderly suspension of manufacturing operations in North America," according to a statement on the company's website.

That includes the GM Fairfax Assembling and Stamping Plant, though it's unclear when the facility in Kansas City, Kansas, will shut down.

The suspension will last until at least March 30 and, after deep cleaning is performed, production status will be re-evaluated on a week-to-week basis, GM said.

“GM and the UAW 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,” GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra said in a statement. “We have been taking extraordinary precautions around the world to keep our plant environments safe and recent developments in North America make it clear this is the right thing to do now."

The UAW agreed with GM's decision.

“UAW members, their families and our communities will benefit from today’s announcement with the certainty that we are doing all that we can to protect our health and safety during this pandemic,” UAW President Rory Gamble said. “This will give us time to review best practices and to prevent the spread of this disease. We appreciate General Motors' actions today and will continue to work with them on health and safety plans to be implemented when we resume production.”

Sources say that FCA was planning to make the announcement, but all of the Big 3 will now join them in closing.

It is not known how long the shutdowns will last.

On Wednesday, both the Ford Michigan Assembly Plant and the Fiat Chrysler Sterling heights Assembly Plant closed after workers at each location tested positive for COVID-19.

On Tuesday, the UAW and Big 3 announced they agreed to coronavirus protection measures after the union pressured the automakers into shutting down for two weeks.