Ford Motor Company announced Tuesday it is temporarily suspending vehicle and engine production at its manufacturing sites in continental Europe in response to the growing impact of the coronavirus.
Ford said that the suspension is effective Thursday, March 19. The automaker expects this will continue for a number of weeks as Ford tries to help contain the virus spread.
“While the impact of coronavirus at our facilities so far has been limited thankfully, its effects on our employees, dealers, suppliers and customers, as well as European society as a whole, is unprecedented,” said Stuart Rowley, president, Ford of Europe. “Due to the dramatic impact this ongoing crisis is having on the European market and the supplier industry – together with the recent actions by countries to restrict all but essential travel and personal contact – we are temporarily halting production at our main continental Europe manufacturing sites.”
The automaker said component supplies to Ford manufacturing sites in Europe have been increasingly interrupted, while sales of vehicles across the industry have declined with dealerships required to temporarily close their sales operations in some countries.
“However, the servicing of vehicles is regarded as an important societal need and Ford dealerships are continuing to provide essential maintenance and service across the continent,” reads the statement from Ford.
- The Ford vehicle manufacturing sites in Cologne and Saarlouis in Germany, together with the Craiova facility in Romania, will temporarily halt production from Thursday, March 19.
- Ford’s Valencia assembly and engine facility in Spain already temporarily halted production from Monday, March 16, after three workers were confirmed with coronavirus over the past weekend.
- Only essential work, such as maintenance and security, will continue onsite.
Impacted employees in Europe are being contacted by their supervisors with more information about their specific site details, Ford said.
The measures announced today follow actions announced last week requiring all employees to work remotely unless they are performing a business-critical job that requires being onsite. The working remotely policy will continue, until further notice, in a continued effort to help contain the virus. Precautionary measures are being taken to protect the safety of the small number of employees who are unable to work from home, Ford said.
“It is at difficult times like these when we must stand united and put people first,” reads the statement from Rowley. “We at Ford will play our part in the weeks ahead to help get through this crisis, reduce its spread and alleviate its effects wherever we can."