Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Detroit 3 Automakers to Shut Down U.S. Factories On Coronavirus Concerns

By John Rosevear - Mar 18, 2020 at 1:09PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

Union pressure drove the decision.

The Detroit automakers have agreed to shut down their U.S. manufacturing facilities due to worker concerns about the spread of the novel coronavirus, the Associated Press (AP) has reported. The move is expected to idle roughly 150,000 workers. 

The decision represents a dramatic change of course for Ford Motor Company (F -2.46%), General Motors (GM -1.59%), and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCAU), one that will have a major impact on their revenue and sales in the near term.

Frames for Ford Ranger pickups move down the assembly line at Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant near Detroit.

Ford shut down its Michigan Assembly Plant this morning after a worker tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. The factory will remain closed until March 30, Ford said. Image source: Ford Motor Company.

As recently as this morning, the 3 automakers had planned to keep the plants open after agreeing to enhanced safety and cleaning measures in a meeting with United Auto Workers (UAW) union leaders on Tuesday night. 

But, as first reported by the AP, continued pressure from UAW leaders on Wednesday, and Honda Motor's (HMC -1.29%) decision on Wednesday morning to shut down all of its North American factories for at least six days, convinced the U.S. automakers to change course.

In a statement, Ford said that it will close all of its manufacturing facilities in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico until March 30 to "thoroughly clean and sanitize" the plants to ensure workers safety. The plants will shut down after Thursday's work shifts. 

Ford said it has already closed one U.S. factory. The final assembly building at Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant, near Detroit, was shut down for cleaning and disinfection after an employee tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. The factory's production will remain halted through March 30, Ford said. 

GM said in a statement that it will begin a "systematic orderly suspension of manufacturing operations in North America due to market conditions and to deep clean facilities and continue to protect people." GM expects the shutdowns to last until "at least March 30," it said. 

It was not immediately clear how FCA planned to proceed. 

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Ford Motor Company Stock Quote
Ford Motor Company
F
$11.52 (-2.46%) $0.29
General Motors Company Stock Quote
General Motors Company
GM
$33.45 (-1.59%) $0.54
Honda Motor Co., Ltd. Stock Quote
Honda Motor Co., Ltd.
HMC
$24.46 (-1.29%) $0.32
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. Stock Quote
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.
FCAU

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
319%
 
S&P 500 Returns
112%

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 06/30/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.