Friday, June 21, 2024

General Motors, Volkswagen announce temporary plant closures

More automobile manufacturers have announced that they will temporarily close plants and take other precautionary measures in response to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Ford, Honda and other major car companies announced earlier this week that they would limit or suspend production in Mexico in attempts to mitigate the spread of the virus. Now others have also decided to take action.

General Motors had originally planned to close only plants in the United States and Canada, but the company announced Friday that it would temporarily halt production at its four plants in Mexico for cleaning and sanitization.

The plants are located in México state, San Luis Potosí, Guanajuato, and Coahuila. They will suspend operations at different times between March 23 and 30, and the company has set a tentative reopening date for April 13.

Volkswagen will also suspend operations at its plants in Puebla and Guanajuato beginning March 30, resuming production on April 12. The plant in Puebla is the site where that state’s first case of Covid-19 was confirmed.

Volkswagen said in a press release that it took many factors into consideration when making the decision, but safety was the top priority.

“The most important part of the analysis was the behavior of the contagion in other countries and how they compare with the virus’s evolution in Mexico, all with the purpose of mitigating as much as possible the risk to our collaborators, their families and the general population,” it said.

The week before the suspension of activities, the company will attempt to control the spread of the virus with checkpoints equipped with thermal cameras at the entrances and exits to the plants, the suspension of all new international travel and 14-day home quarantines for employees returning from international business trips currently in progress.

Nissan also announced that it will suspend its manufacturing in Mexico, shutting down from March 25 to April 14.

“There are currently no cases of the coronavirus in any Nissan installation [in Mexico],” said the company in a press release. “The other areas essential to the company will function with optimal security measures.”

Pirelli Tires took into account both the health risk from the virus and the current lack of demand for its product when deciding to scale back production.

The Italian company said that it will halt operations on Monday and monitor the situation day by day. It did not say when it would resume production.

“For the people who keep working, even with reduced production, Pirelli established security protocols to protect the health of its workers, who continue to be its priority,” the company said in a statement.

It will keep its warehouses functioning at reduced levels in order to keep providing limited services to customers.

Sources: La Jornada (sp), El Financiero (sp)

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