29ºF

Checking in with Metro Detroit auto plants 3 weeks after reopening

Auto industry continues working with COVID-19 restrictions

WARREN, Mich. – Three weeks ago, the Big Three automakers in Metro Detroit -- Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler -- reopened their parts and assembly plants.

Local 4 checked in to see how operations are running amid coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions. Auto workers are trying to tread carefully and avoid spreading COVID-19.

The Warren Truck Plant continues working two shifts per day, and the new protocols have caused many changes. While everyone is trying to get their feet under them, the industry as a whole appears to be ready for a comeback.

READ: Here’s everything that has reopened across entire state of Michigan as of today

The Warren Truck Plant will soon close for four months as the company gets ready to build the new Jeep Grand Wagoneer. The workforce is holding up OK under the new rules, but there is some of that end-of-the-school-year feel at play, too.

“I mean, it’s going already, but everyone is ready to go,” Jasmine Brown said. "A lot of people feel like they shouldn’t be here. They came too soon. But they’ve got to wear a mask.

Camilla Malone just got back to work because child care issues forced her to delay her return. She said her day was quite comfortable.

“I mean, I do,” Malone said. “Where I work it’s pretty open. I work next to somebody, but it’s not so closed in, so I work on the door line.”

UPDATE -- June 8, 2020: Michigan coronavirus cases up to 58,999; Death toll now at 5,673

As for the industry itself, Autotrader analyst Michelle Krebs said the rebound is exceeding her expectations. She said there is concern the supply chain is still fragile, but there are contingency plans in place.

Meanwhile, for car and truck buyers, the shutdown caused inventory shortages, so dealers are doing what they can to deal with that issues.

Krebs believes the inventory shortages will likely last until the end of the year.


About the Authors: