When FCA Might Resume Building 2020 Ram 1500s
Ram is tentatively setting a date to restart production of its popular 2020 Ram 1500 and other vehicles. Its parent company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles issued a statement saying that its plants and headquarters will stay closed until April 14, 2020. April 14th, which could be the first day back, is the Tuesday after Easter.
2020 Ram 1500 Plant was the First Michigan Facility to Close
The Sterling Heights Assembly Plant which builds the 2020 Ram 1500 was the first FCA plant in Michigan to shut down operations on March 18th after a worker tested positive for the virus. The FCA statement reads in part, “FCA continues to take important steps to help flatten the curve of the spread of COVID-19 and put the health and safety of our workforce, and the communities where we live and work, first. FCA plants across the U.S. and Canada, as well as headquarters operations and construction projects, are intended to remain closed until April 14, dependent upon the various states' stay-in-place orders and the readiness of each facility to return to production.”
Obviously, the reopening dates are dependent on what happens with the virus outbreaks and if the U.S. is successful in “flattening the curve” of exposure.
Ford Motor also issued a statement today indicating that it intends to reopen plants on April 14th. GM is not yet commenting on when it plans to reopen its plants.
UAW Concerns About Possible Reopenings
UAW President Rory Gamble issued a statement saying that the companies need to be cautious. “The UAW continues to review with great caution and concern decisions being made about restarting workplaces, especially at advanced dates.”
These decisions should be informed by data and where each state is on the contagion curve. The UAW maintains that strict CDC guidelines need to be adhered to at all worksites and that prior to reopening sufficient data and protections are in place to ensure the safety of our members, their families and the public. The only guideline in a boardroom should be management asking themselves, “Would I send my family — my own son or daughter — into that plant and be 100% certain they are safe?”
Shutdowns Weighing on Companies and Employees
The COVID-19 concerns are devastating the economy and severely affecting all vehicle sales. It is understandable that the automakers are hoping to get employees back in the plants and earning paychecks again. The companies are expected to focus on building the highest demand vehicles first and that includes the 2020 Ram 1500. Pickup trucks are also the vehicles that typically have the highest profit margins, so it makes sense that those plants would be some of the first back on line.
FCA says that it will announce when its Mexico facilities will reopen at a different time. Ford intends to reopen one of its Mexico plants on April 6th.
Ram and FCA are continuing to work out details with the UAW concerning all of the additional safety measures that they will be taking in the plants when they do open. The UAW is very concerned about extensive cleaning of workstations and new protocols about social distancing to help safe guard workers. FCA has had employees from several different work sites test positive for COVID-19.
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