Ford Plans Gradual Restart of North American Plants From April 6

Ford Motor Co. plans to resume vehicle production in Mexico on April 6, with some U.S. plants cranking up again about a week later.

After halting North American production as of March 19 to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, Ford said in a statement it’s aiming to restart production first at its factory in Hermosillo, Mexico, which builds the Fusion and Lincoln MKZ sedans.

Ford then plans to restart production on April 14 at plants in Michigan, Kentucky and Ohio that assemble profitable F-Series pickups and commercial vans. Other factories that make transmissions and press metal parts for those vehicles are also due to resume on that day. The F-Series is Ford’s best-selling model and provides most of its profit.

The company said Thursday it will put in place additional safety measures to protect returning workers as it brings the plants back online. A Ford staffer at a plant in Wayne, Michigan, tested positive for the virus earlier this month, while two workers at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV plants in Michigan and Indiana died after contracting Covid-19.

“We are reviewing with great concern and caution today’s announcement,” the United Auto Workers said in a statement. “Our priority is the health and safety of our members, their families and the American public.”

The shutdowns have pressured Ford’s finances and contributed to S&P Global Ratings downgrading the automaker to junk on Wednesday.

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