Auto-industry supplier BorgWarner (BWA 1.50%) said that it expects to resume limited production at a tornado-damaged South Carolina factory in early May. 

The factory makes critical parts for four-wheel-drive versions of pickup trucks and SUVs made by automakers including Ford (F 1.14%), Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCAU), and Toyota (TM 1.37%). 

The factory, in Seneca, South Carolina, suffered severe damage from a tornado strike on April 13 that killed one employee, a security guard who had been stationed outside.  The factory manufactures transfer cases, key components of the driveline systems in four-wheel-drive trucks and SUVs.

F-150 pickups on the assembly line at Ford's Dearborn Truck Plant in Dearborn, Michigan.

Ford's ability to restart truck production was in question after the BorgWarner factory was damaged. Image source: Ford Motor Company.

Ford warned in a regulatory filing earlier this month that the damage to BorgWarner's factory could limit its ability to restart production of certain vehicles as the coronavirus pandemic abates, and said that it had been assisting BorgWarner in its salvage and recovery efforts. 

Ford uses transfer cases made at the Seneca factory in several of its largest-selling models, including versions of its F-150 and Super Duty pickups, the Ford Explorer and Expedition SUVs, some Transit commercial vans, and the upscale Lincoln Navigator SUV. 

The factory also makes transfer cases for FCA's Ram 1500 and Toyota's Tundra pickup trucks.

Ford and FCA haven't yet announced when they will reopen their idled U.S. factories. The Wall Street Journal reported that the automakers are targeting May 18 in their ongoing negotiations with the United Auto Workers union and state officials in Michigan, but neither automaker has yet confirmed the date. 

Toyota said that it will begin reopening its North American factories next week.