WASHINGTON -- Some of the world's largest auto suppliers told Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer they are ready to restart production and raised alarm about new delays to resuming operations.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, most suppliers halted operations in late March as automakers closed their factories. Six weeks later, uncertainty about when Michigan will allow the resumption of operations is causing delays throughout the U.S. auto industry.
The Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association and Original Equipment Suppliers Association told Whitmer in a letter late on Thursday that "delays in re-opening facilities would increase liquidity risk for suppliers and jeopardize long-term capital investment and employment for Michigan."
The group asked Whitmer "to provide clear authority for automotive suppliers to restart their operations in Michigan at least five days before OEM production begins."
Auto suppliers in Michigan employ about 125,000 people and are generally paid 45 days after production. Automotive industry executives say that means some smaller suppliers are in danger of running out of money in the coming weeks.
Earlier this week, both Volkswagen Group and Toyota Motor Corp. pushed back the planned resumption of U.S. auto production and cited auto supplier issues as a factor.
Whitmer's office did not immediately comment but she has held regular talks with the UAW and top executives of the Detroit 3 automakers, officials say.
Most U.S. automakers haven't committed to hard restart dates, but if they plan to resume production on May 18, as some expect, auto suppliers would need the green light to resume operations during the week of May 11.