Report: May 18th Could Be It for Detroit Three
Unlike their foreign rivals, Ford, General Motors, and, belatedly, Fiat Chrysler held off on nailing down a specific date for a production restart. The latter company was expected to begin ramping up production starting May 4th, but last week’s announcement by UAW President Rory Gamble made it the odd man out. The plan’s now off the table.
According to one report, the three automakers will present a united front, with each operation coming back online on the same day.
Monday’s Wall Street Journal report cites sources who claim the Detroit Three are focused on a May 18th return following consultation with the United Auto Workers and Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan. On Friday, Whitmer extended the state’s shutdown order until May 15th.
Late last week, the UAW’s president issued a statement saying an early-May restart date would place workers in unnecessary jeopardy. Despite all three Detroit automakers working on strict new health protocols for their plants, Gamble said the situation was too dicey. That, plus Michigan’s lockdown extension, took the wind out of FCA’s sales.
“In light of the updated state stay in place orders, the Company is re-evaluating its plans to resume its North American operations and will communicate new restart dates in due course,” FCA said in a Monday statement reported by The Detroit News.
The WSJ‘s sources claim the May 18th return date remains tentative. There’s apparently still work to be done on the health front, which could push back the restart date.
It would be interesting to see inventory levels for each automaker to see really how badly a production restart needs to be pressed. I suspect that inventory levels for most vehicles are now down to still healthy levels and only certain models, Corvette for instance, are really hurting for new supply. In any event, I hope demand returns with the renewed production otherwise there will be hard times ahead. I recall reading that the only thing worse (more costly) than having to shut down production would be to restart production only to have to shut it down again because of a new outbreak. So, I suppose prudence and an additional two weeks isn't all that dire considering what they have already gone through. If more people across the country dont get back to work, or if there jobs have permanently disappeared it would seem that a 2008-like demand destruction event may be in the future.
Good! Let's get this country back to work. Especially before the Democrats get everyone addicted to government handouts.