Not So Fast: Automakers Rethink an Earlier Start

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
not so fast automakers rethink an earlier start

The generally agreed-upon early-May production restarts floated a couple of weeks ago were clearly not set in stone. Not for everyone, anyway. While Fiat Chrysler tossed its tentative May 4th restart to fall in line with the Detroit Three and placate the UAW, other automakers are reaching their own conclusion that earlier might not be better.

Count Toyota and Volkswagen among them.

May 4th is off the table for Toyota’s significant manufacturing footprint. The automaker said Wednesday that its North American factory operations are in for another week-long pause, coming back online on May 11th. The decision came after consultations with its supplier and logistics network.

Now, the company “intends to gradually resume its manufacturing operations in compliance with federal health and safety guidelines, and local and state ordinances where our facilities are located.”

It almost goes without saying that new health and safety protocols will be in place when workers return.

Volkswagen’s manufacturing presence pales in comparison to Toyota, but the company’s Chattanooga assembly plant will similarly remain offline for an additional amount of time. Exactly how long, VW isn’t saying.

Saying in Wednesday release that it has “reassessed” its plans, the automaker now claims Chattanooga will remain shuttered for an indefinite amount of time.

“Before setting a new start date, Volkswagen will weigh the readiness of the supplier base, as well as market demand and the status of the COVID-19 outbreak,” the company stated. “The Company will continue the work to start production from an organizational perspective, and refine and strengthen the health and safety measures to safeguard our employees.”

VW furloughed its production and maintenance employees on April 11th, with benefits continued past that point.

[Image: Steph Willems/TTAC]

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