The List of Automakers Not Shutting Down Is a Short One

the list of automakers em not em shutting down is a short one

As we enter the Friday of a very eventful week, U.S. auto production is barely hanging on. The past few days have seen manufacturers both domestic and foreign announce temporary production shutdowns amid the coronavirus emergency.

It begs the question: who’s left?

Strike the Detroit Three from that list. Ford, General Motors, and Fiat Chrysler have all announced they’ll go dark for a tentative length of time. Honda was quick out of the gate in proclaiming a ceasing of production at its four U.S. plants. Then came Hyundai, after a worker in Alabama came down with COVID-19. Sister division Kia Motors quickly announced a shutdown of its Georgia operations, but only for a period of two days.

After wrangling with county, state, and federal officials, Tesla Motors finally agreed to suspend work at its Fremont, California assembly plant on Thursday.

Toyota Motor North America says it will end production at all North American plants beginning Monday, March 23, with the idle period lasting “at least” until April 5th. Subaru, with its lone Indiana assembly plant, plans to go dark on the 23rd as well, returning a week later. Nissan will be offline in the country from March 20th to April 6th.

Health concerns and supply chain disruptions aren’t the sole domain of domestic and Japanese manufacturers, either. Volvo Cars has announced a shutdown of its South Caroline assembly plant starting March 23rd, with the idle period lasting until April 14th. Thursday brought news that Volkswagen of America will shut down its Chattanooga, Tennessee assembly plant on Saturday, “with current plans to resume production Sunday, March 29 at 10 p.m.”

“This action is being taken to help ensure the health and safety of our team members as we conduct additional sanitation and cleaning procedures throughout the factory,” said plant CEO Tom du Plessis in a statement. “We will also use this time to assess future production plans and market developments.”

Time will tell if any of these return dates prove accurate.

Meanwhile, Mercedes-Benz feels time’s running out for production at its Alabama plant. In a memo to workers obtained by Bloomberg, plant CEO Michael Goebel said supply chain disruptions are only getting worse, putting the plant at risk of a shutdown. Already, Mercedes-Benz has cut overtime and reduced shifts to compensate for the decreased supply.

“It is not clear yet exactly how our supply chain will be impacted, but it is foreseeable it will be difficult to get parts we need in the near future,” Goebel wrote.

That leaves BMW as the sole mainstream automaker not talking about shutting down. The German automaker’s South Carolina plant continues pumping out cars, with a company spokesperson telling Greenville Online that thus far, the plant has avoided disruption. Enhanced cleaning and social distancing measures have already been put in place, the company said.

[Image: Toyota]

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  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Mar 21, 2020

    Proposed QOTD: Outside-the-box ideas for how the automotive industry could pitch in with the COVID-19 crisis.

  • IBx1 IBx1 on Mar 23, 2020

    Good job answering the question of which automakers are still producing.

  • ScarecrowRepair The 1907 Panic had several causes of increased demand for money:[list][*]The semi-annual shift of money between farms and cities (to buy for planting and selling harvests)[/*][*]Britain and Germany borrowing for their naval arms race[/*][*]San Francisco reconstruction borrowing after the 1906 earthquake and fire[/*][/list]Two things made it worse:[list][*]Idiotic bans on branch banking, which prevented urban, rural, and other state branches from shifting funds to match demands. This same problem made the Great Depression far worse. Canada, which allowed branch banking, had no bank failures; the US had 9000 failures.[/*][*]Idiotic reserve requirements left over from the Civil War which prevented banks from loaning money; they eventually started honoring IOUs illegally and started the recovery.[/*][/list]Been a while since I read up on it, so I may have some of the details wrong. But it was an amazing clusterfart which could have been avoided or at least tamed sooner if states and the feds hadn't been so ham handed.
  • FreedMike Maybe this explains all the “Idiots wrecking exotic cars” YouTube videos.
  • FreedMike Good article! And I salute the author for not using the classic “Lucas - prince of darkness” trope, well earned as it may be. We all know the rap on BL cars, but on the flip side, they’re apparently pretty easy to work on (at least that’s the impression I’ve picked up). On the other hand, check the panel fits on the driver’s and passenger’s doors. Clearly, BL wasn’t much concerned with things like structural integrity when it chopped the roof off a car designed as a coupe.
  • Mongo312 Had an 89SE, 92SE and an 03SE all with stick. The 03 took almost 3 months to find because there were so few produced with a manual transmission and dealers didn't want to give them up. Ended up buying one from a dealership in San Antonio and having it shipped here to St Louis.
  • Bullnuke About 15 years before the TR-8 my brother-in-law put a 301 Chevy small block in a TR-3A. Needed a U-joint in the steering to clear the headers, a modified '59 Pontiac radiator, and a drive shaft that was basically two U-joints end-to-end. It was a scream to drive, basically a small block Chevy with 3-deuces on wheels. 142mph in the quarter - we learned that the original wire wheels were a no-go on this thing at the drags...