Ford and Toyota are suspending production at plants in Asia and the US due to COVID-19 concerns, with other large vehicle manufacturers following suit.
Ford is idling four plants in India, two in South Africa, and one each in Vietnam and Thailand. Mark Ovenden, president, Ford IMG said in a statement that the company is exploring additional protocols and procedures to help prevent the spread of the virus and establish new work practices to lessen its effects on operations.
Last week, Ford shut down operations in Europe, North America and South America. The carmaker recently announced its plants in the US, Canada, and Mexico will not reopen on March 30 as initially anticipated. A new timeline has not been established.
Toyota is idling a facility in India and shutting down an assembly line in Japan. The site is the only one at the moment where a COVID-19 case was confirmed. Other production sites are taking measures to identity potential health risks.
Kia Motors America is also closing its assembly plant in Georgia on March 30, the company said, adding it is taking action to support the social distancing efforts to minimize the effect of COVID-19. The plant was closed for two days last week because of supply chain problems. The plant is scheduled to restart on April 13 that includes a previously planned maintenance period from April 6-10.
BMW is idling US factory in South Carolina where the German automaker produces its line of SUVs. Daimler recently shut down operations in Alabama and South Carolina.
Initally, some automakers voiced the possibility of an April 1 return to business but fear that the suspensions could be prolonged as countries around the world tighten efforts to control the pandemic through national lockdowns.