Coronavirus struggle forces Asian automakers to suspend production in US

Asian auto makers based in North America (NA) will temporarily suspend production from next week as the struggle with the new coronavirus outbreak continues.  Among them is Toyota Motor: the Japanese auto maker employs 47,000 people in NA and will soon stop production at all of its 14 NA manufacturing plants for a deep cleaning to fight the virus. It previously halted overtime production and Saturday shifts at some of its plants in anticipation of slowing sales. The shutdown will also allow Toyota employees “to prepare and adjust family plans in relation to regional directives to close schools” and further monitoring of the situation.

Toyota, however, said its service parts depots and vehicle logistics centres will continue to operate, and would compensate its employees for their lost time.

Meanwhile, Honda said it would halt production for six days beginning March 23 because of the anticipated decline in auto sales as a result of the coronavirus outbreak and will reduce production by about 40,000 vehicles.It is also suspending operations at NA transmission and engine plants. Honda will continue full pay for all of its associates and it will utilise the break for a similar thorough cleaning of its production facilities and common areas.

Following its counterparts is Nissan, which will stop production at all three US factories for two weeks, and Hyundai, where a worker at the Alabama plant recently tested positive for the coronavirus. Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama is therefore “suspending production in all areas, for all shifts; and will inform members when production is safe to resume.” The plant, which employs about 3,000 people, will shut down for a complete disinfection before resuming output.