CAR: Restarting Automotive Manufacturing After the Coronavirus Pandemic

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This article was written and posted by the Center for Automotive Research.


As the coronavirus crisis continues to disrupt the global economy, North American vehicle sales have dropped sharply, and production has come to a nearly complete stop. Given the complexity of automotive manufacturing, the tremendous capital required to restart production, and the industry’s deep global supply chains, resuming vehicle production in North America will be a complex undertaking that is likely to take place in stages. CAR researchers are tracking automaker announcements for the restart of production at the companies’ North American plants.

Restarting the automotive industry is more than just the issue of resuming production at each company’s plant, however. Automakers and suppliers need to address:

  • How does the automotive industry adjust its traditional business practices post-crisis?
  • How do companies manage and monitor workers’ health conditions?
  • Are changes needed to current inventory management?
  • How do companies evaluate and respond to supply chain risks and disruptions?
  • Does this crisis push the need for companies to reset the production process?
  • How do companies prepare to avoid another crisis impact on their business?

CAR addressed many of these issues in our recent Restart Playbook Webinar, which featured a conversation with Magna Executive Vice President and President Magna Asia, Jim Tobin, and Magna Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer Aaron McCarthy.

The following map series depicts automaker announced restart dates for each company’s assembly plants as of 20 May 2020. CAR researchers will continue to monitor automaker restart announcements throughout the production ramp-up and will update these maps regularly.

Assembly Plants in Production

The following table depicts confirmed assembly plants that have restarted production at their North American assembly plants.

Table 1: Confirmed Restart of N.A. Assembly Plants by Automakers, 2020

 

 

Week of 31 May – 06 June

Figure 1: Automaker North American Assembly Plant Restarts, Week of 31 May – 06 June 2020

Source: Media announcements through 20 May 2020

​FCA, GM, and Volkswagen announced plans to restart production at four of their assembly plants during the week of 31 May 2020. FCA’s Belvidere Assembly Plant in Belvidere, Illinois is scheduled to begin production on 1 June at an estimated weekly production capacity of 6,430. GM announced plans to restart production at its plants in Arlington, Texas and Fairfax, Kansas both will begin production with one shift. Volkswagen also announced that its plants located in Puebla, Mexico, is scheduled to begin production during this week at a weekly production capacity of 15,309 units.

Unknown Assembly Plant Restart Announcements

The following table depicts automakers who previously announced restart dates before the week of 20 May 2020 that have not publically confirmed the restart of their operations. This table also includes automakers who have not disclosed a specific date to restart their assembly plants.

Table 4: Unconfirmed N.A. Assembly Plant Restart Dates by Automaker, 2020

Source: Media announcements through 20 May 2020

CAR researchers are continuously monitoring automaker and supplier announcements regarding restarting North American production and the steps necessary to enable this undertaking. Because the announcements are updated and changed regularly, CAR will continue to provide updates on the CAR website as the situation unfolds.


This article was written and posted by the Center for Automotive Research.

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