Most everyone stopping production
Just about every automaker making cars and trucks in America is stopping production here and there. Even Rivian, which has yet to make a single car intended for sale, has shut its facilities for the moment. Tesla, which had ignored health authorities’ “lockdown” orders since law and health are only problems for other people, will suspend production on Monday—around a week after a shelter-in-place order was given. The Fremont Police and Alameda County Sheriff’s Office both visited Tesla but apparently failed to hand out any citations.
Amazon may need Rivian vans now, but the coronavirus has other ideas.
GM and Ford voluntary shut down all their North American plants over the last two days, and will keep them closed through March 30. FCA followed, heavily pressured by the UAW and Unifor.
Honda shut down for at least nine days because cars are not selling; Mercedes is shutting the spigot in the United States for at least two weeks. Kia (part of Hyundai) shut down in Georgia but plans to start back up again; Audi shut its Mexican plant, mostly because it’s finding it hard to ship vehicles to their buyers; and Hyundai closed its Alabama plant temporarily after a worker was tested for COVID-19.
When the self-quarantines, lockdowns, and in-place orders lift, it may take a while for demand to build back up. Modern cars tend to last a long time, and the economic damage caused by the virus containment could take numerous months to go by.
Clark Westfield grew up fixing up and driving past-their-prime American cars, including various GM and Mopar V8s. He has ghostwritten auto news for the last few years, and lives in Farmingdale, New York.