Mid-April appears to be the earliest that most North America production could resume, but the deaths of at least eight UAW members at Ford and FCA underscore the worries many workers have about returning to the factory floor.
The pair are the first Ford employees known to have died from the virus. One of the victims worked at the automaker's Dearborn Stamping plant while the other was a skilled trades employee at the Ford Data Center in Dearborn, Mich., the UAW said. The union on Sunday confirmed two more deaths of FCA workers.
The next Detroit auto show is now scheduled for June 2021, organizers told sponsors Saturday. The TCF Center, where the show was set to take place in June, is being converted by FEMA into a field hospital as coronavirus cases in Michigan rise.
Ford said it will reopen some key truck factories by mid-April while Honda and Toyota, citing slumping sales, extended shutdowns at North American factories. Ford's plans raised more concerns at the UAW, which has pressed the Detroit 3 to shutter plants to protect workers and help stem the spread of the coronavirus.
The automaker said it will use fans from the seats of F-150s and portable battery packs to build up to 1,000 respirators per month. It's also planning to make 100,000 face masks per week and to help with an undisclosed number of ventilators.
FCA said it was temporarily shutting its Sterling Heights Assembly Plant after a worker there tested positive for COVID-19. Ford idled a final assembly building at its Ranger plant in Wayne, Mich., and Hyundai its plant in Alabama for the same reason. VW closed its office in suburban Detroit after an employee there tested positive.