American auto industry returns to work after quarantine

Several car factories reopened in the country on Monday.

The American auto industry slowly began to return to life on Monday, with some factories reopening after being quarantined, while suppliers are trying to support a sector that employs nearly a million people.

The opening of automobile factories will be a test that will show whether workers in numerous industries can return to factories without triggering a new outbreak of coronavirus.

Companies have introduced some security measures to protect workers: they are measured at the entrance, and inside they are required to wear masks, protective shields and keep a distance. Checks are also being carried out to determine whether workers have come into contact with the sick.

General Motors, Ford Motor, and Fiat Chrysler Automobile have been preparing to open factories for weeks to restart the industry, which accounts for about 6 percent of economic activity in the United States.

For automakers and their suppliers, who started opening their factories last week, restarting production is necessary to stop the outflow of funds caused by two months of downtime due to COVID-19.

The priority is to resume production of profitable models such as GM’s Chevrolet Suburban, Ford’s F-150 pickup, and FCA’s Jeep Wrangler.

As reported in the White House, President Donald Trump on Thursday will visit the Ford plant in Michigan, which was converted to the production of artificial respiration and personal protective equipment.

There are concerns that not all workers will turn up for their shifts: some have no one to leave their children due to school closures, and those with comorbidities are afraid of getting infected. Ford is hiring temporary workers in this regard.

Car companies will also have to monitor the financial condition of suppliers closely. Since most suppliers are paid on average 45 days after the components are delivered, some will find it challenging to stay afloat as the industry slowly returns to work, analysts say.