When Ram May Start Building Your New 2020 Ram 1500.
The COVID-19 crisis has caused tremendous uncertainty in the automotive industry as the Detroit Three automakers struggle to set a date for re-opening their plants and getting employees back on the production lines. It looks as though the soonest that Ram could resume production of the 2020 Ram 1500 would be May 18, 2020.
Ram Production Critical to Fiat Chrysler Survival
There are huge issues concerning safe social distancing inside the plants and also making sure that the UAW members feel safe enough to go back into the facilities. Ram is hoping to restart production as soon as safely possible, because of the high demand for the product. Sales for the 2020 Ram 1500 were very strong up until the middle of March when production was halted because of the virus.
Restarting Ram Production Expected to Be Fiat Chrysler Priority
Ram insiders aren’t commenting on a new report in the Wall Street Journal that says Fiat Chrysler, Ford and GM are targeting May 18 to resume production in the U.S. plants. The Ram models are top sellers for FCA and they also create some of the highest profits, so Ram production is critical for FCA. Similarly, FCA will be trying to restart Jeep production as quickly as possible. Ram insiders also will not say how many 2020 Ram 1500s will be have to be built before Ram switches over to the 2021 models. All of the auto companies have been forced to delay their annual changeover or retooling schedules because of the loss of production. If the plants do resume May 18th, the companies will have lost nearly two months of production.
UAW Leery of Returning to Plants Too Early
The UAW is posting a tribute to auto workers lost to COVID-19 on its website, listing the names of deceased and what facility the person worked in. The UAW is also trying to negotiate new safety guidelines for workers to return to the plants. The UAW wants automakers to “agree to new measures to assure adherence to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organizations (WHO) recommendations on social distancing and required health and safety standards in the workplace.”
The return to production is also complicated by different states’ shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders. The Ram 1500s are built in Michigan. Michigan’s current stay-at-home order runs until May 15, 2020. I have heard that Ram will start sending small numbers of workers into some of the plants as early as later this week to start making some of the changes to ensure that the workers will be safe distances from each other. Other precautions may be put in place, as well as possibly requiring workers to wear protective gear like masks or shields. Many of the changes will depend on what the UAW is able to work out with the different automakers.
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