GM, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler are restarting production at many US factories today.
A major test for the automotive industry is on the way, as roughly 133,000 auto employees of the big three Detroit automakers will head back to work by the end of this week, the AP estimates.
The restart of vehicle production at General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co., and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, Detroit News states, is part of an unprecedented effort to rev up almost the entire auto industry after the shutdown resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, as there are many concerns among workers over their safety. Many restarted work Monday following safety guidelines and wearing masks around their faces.
Automaker reopenings will test the new health and safety protocols these automakers have developed and implemented already in China, in Europe and in U.S. plants producing medical equipment and supplies, as well as how effective those protocols prove to be should help ease anxieties of those returning to work. Among other things, we are yet to learn if safe, large-scale manufacturing can be accomplished in the socially distant era. Michigan certainly hopes so, because more than a third of the state’s labor force has filed for unemployment benefits since March 15.
We’ve been told not to do many things during this pandemic but driving a car isn’t one of them, meaning the industry’s certainly been battered—total auto sales fell 21% from January through April—but it appears to have escaped the fate of airlines… for now, at least.