Ford COO sees three-shift days at some plants as production ramps up

FILE - In this Sept. 27, 2018, file photo robots weld the bed of a 2018 Ford F-150 truck on the assembly line at the Ford Rouge assembly plant in Dearborn, Mich. U.S. businesses are edging their way toward figuring out how to bring their employees back to work amid the coronavirus pandemic, some more gracefully than others. Detroit-area automakers, which suspended production in March 2020, are now pushing to restart factories as soon as possible. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File) (Carlos Osorio, Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

DETROIT – Ford expects to have its U.S. factories humming at pre-coronavirus levels by July 6.

Chief Operating Officer Jim Farley told a Deutsche Bank autos conference on Wednesday that the company hit 96% of its production targets in the first three weeks after it reopened factories on May 18.

Many plants reopened working two shifts and have since added production with workers on overtime. He said the company plans to go to three shifts per day at some plants.

Ford and the rest of the U.S. auto industry closed factories in mid-March when employees started catching the coronavirus. Most reopened in May.

Ford initially had trouble restarting in Chicago and Dearborn, Michigan, due to employees testing positive for the virus or due to parts shortages. But those have since subsided.