COVID-19

Here's how each U.S. automaker's plants are responding to the coronavirus outbreak

General Motors, Ford, and FCA plants are among those shut down by the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Photo courtesy of General Motors

Toyota, Ford, and Nissan, among others, all rely on American labor to manufacture and assemble their vehicles for sale in the U.S. The list of automakers effected by the COVID-19 pandemic is all-encompassing. Below, AutomotiveMap rounds up how each company is responding.

BMW

BMW Plant Spartanburg South Carolina

Photo courtesy of BMW

UPDATE: BMW's Spartanburg plant is closed through April 12.

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According to reporting by the Greenville News, production at BMW Upstate has not been effected by the coronavirus outbreak as of the afternoon of Wednesday, March 18.

FCA

Toledo Assembly Complex Jeep Wrangler

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

UPDATE: According to a release, "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. The Mopar Parts Distribution Centers, which have been deemed essential to keeping first responders and commercial vehicles on the road, will continue to operate with paid volunteers. The status of production for FCA's Mexico operations will be subject to a separate announcement."

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FCA began to cease production at their plants across North America, starting March 18 - a move that will continue through the end of March. At the end of the month, FCA will work to enhance its manufacturing operations to facilitate the changes agreed with the UAW including shift timings, structures and enhanced cleaning protocols.

FCA has 27 plants across the U.S., Mexico, and Canada.

Ford

Ford Kansas City Assembly Plant

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

UPDATE: On March 31, Ford announced new plans for the reopening of facilities. All but one of its North American plants will remain closed until further notice. Rawsonville Components Plant will restart the week of April 20 to produce the Model A-E ventilator, in collaboration with GE Healthcare, supported by paid volunteer UAW workers.

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UPDATE: On March 26, Ford announced that they are aiming to restart production at select plants in North America as early as April 6. Ford is planning to resume production at Hermosillo Assembly Plant on April 6 on one shift. On April 14, Ford is planning to start building vehicles at Dearborn Truck Plant, Kentucky Truck Plant, Kansas City Assembly Plant's Transit line and Ohio Assembly Plant.

To support these assembly plants, Ford also is aiming to resume production April 14 at:

  • Dearborn Stamping Plant
  • Dearborn Diversified Manufacturing Plant
  • Integrated stamping plants within Kansas City and Kentucky Truck plants
  • Sharonville Transmission Plant
  • Portions of Van Dyke Transmission, Lima Engine and Rawsonville Components plants

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Production at Ford's U.S., Canadian and Mexican plants will be halted after March 19's evening shifts to through March 30 to thoroughly clean and sanitize the facilities.

Ford temporarily closed Michigan Assembly Plant (MAP) final assembly building yesterday after an employee tested positive for Covid-19 and is thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting the building, as promised as part of the company's coronavirus emergency response protocol. That plant will close starting the evening of March 19 through March 30.

General Motors

Detroit-Hamtramck Plant Last Impala

Photo courtesy of General Motors

On March 18, General Motors began what they're calling a "systematic orderly suspension" of manufacturing operations in North America. The suspension will last until at least March 30. Production status will be reevaluated week-to-week after that.

General Motors has 32 plants in North America.

Honda

Marysville Auto Plant Honda

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

UPDATE: On April 2, Honda announced that they have extended the production suspension previously announced for all of its automobile, engine and transmission plants in the U.S. and Canada through April 10.

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On March 18, Honda announced that it would adjust production at all of its automobile production plants in North America, including the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Those plants include:

  • Performance Manufacturing Center (Ohio)
  • Marysville Auto Plant (Ohio)
  • East Liberty Auto Plant (Ohio)
  • Honda Manufacturing of Indiana (Indiana)
  • Honda Manufacturing of Alabama(Alabama)
  • Honda of Canada Manufacturing – Plants 1 & 2
  • Honda de Mexico – Celaya Auto Plant

Honda will suspend production for six days beginning March 23, with current plans to return to production on Tuesday, March 31. Honda transmission and engine plants in North America that serve Honda auto plants also will suspend production for the same time period. Honda will reduce production by approximately 40,000 vehicles during that time.

During this time, Honda will continue full pay for all of its approximately 27,600 associates in North America.

Additionally, Honda will utilize this time to deep clean its production facilities and common areas.

Hyundai

Hyundai Motor Manufacturing

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

UPDATE: Hyundai has extended the suspension of production until April 10. The company's approximately 3,000 team members will continue to be compensated until April 3, 2020. From April 6 through April 9, team members can choose to use vacation time for compensation; Good Friday, April 10, is a paid holiday. During this shutdown period, approximately one hundred team members will continue to be on site each day to support essential functions

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Hyundai has taken numerous steps to protect their employees during the pandemic. The company is increasing the frequency of cleaning in high-touch areas like door knobs/handles, elevator buttons, and counter tops. They're restricting visitors at Hyundai facilities and have suspended training sessions at all Hyundai Training Centers.

At Hyundai Motor Manufacturing (HMMA) in Alabama, one of the members of its workforce tested positive for Covid-19 on March 18. All team members were notified of the situation.

Beginning March 18, Hyundai suspended production in all areas of HMMA and deployed sanitation measures across the entire facility.

HMMA has also suspended public tours.

Kia

Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

UPDATE: According to a release, "Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, Inc. (KMMG) will suspend production at its West Point, Ga. facility effective Monday, March 30. Operations will be halted for two weeks, including a previously planned shutdown April 6-10 for new model equipment changes. Production is planned to resume on Monday, April 13."

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The Atlanta Business Chronicle is reporting that Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia (KMMG) will stop production for two days, resuming on March 23, in reaction to supply chain issues.

Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz U.S. International

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz U.S. International

UPDATE: On April 3, Mercedes-Benz announced that MBUSI now plans to restart on April 13th.

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The German automaker has not announced any closures or production slowdowns related to the coronavirus pandemic at its Mercedes-Benz U.S. International (MBUSI) plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama as of the afternoon of March 19.

Nissan

Nissan Canton Assembly Plant

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

UPDATE: Nissan has extended its shutdown until "late April".

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Nissan has announced that it will temporarily suspend production of its manufacturing facilities in the U.S. from March 20 to April 6. According to a statement, "Currently, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 coronavirus at any Nissan facility. Areas deemed business-essential will operate with enhanced safety measures."

Subaru

Subaru of American Inc.

Photo courtesy of Subaru of America Inc.

UPDATE: SIA has extended its shutdown through Friday, April 17. Only limited personnel will be working on-site during this time.

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Workers at Subaru of Indiana Automotive continue to work but non-essential visitors are banned in response to the outbreak. The plant will fully close on March 23 and remain closed through at least March 29.

Tesla

Tesla Fremont Factory

Photo courtesy of Tesla

After initially protesting and taking a stand against the government-enforced shutdown of its Fremont manufacturing plant, Tesla appears to have acquiesced.

According to USA Today, "On Tuesday, the auto maker's factory in Fremont, California, was declared a "nonessential business" after Alameda County enacted a shelter-in-place order, which could have led to a complete shutdown. NBC Bay Area reports the factory will remain open with a smaller workforce for 'minimum basic operations.'"

Toyota

Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

UPDATE: The manufacturing facilities will remain closed through April 17, resuming production on April 20.

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Toyota has temporarily suspended production at all of its automobile and components plants in North America, including Canada, Mexico and the U.S. The manufacturing facilities will be closed from March 23-24, resuming production on March 25, 2020. The company's service parts depots and vehicle logistics centers will continue to operate.

Volkswagen

Volkswagen Chattanooga plant

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

UPDATE: The automaker is planning to resume production Sunday, April 12 at 10 p.m.

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VW's Chattanooga production facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee has announced that it will close starting March 21. All workers will receive full pay during the shutdown.

Volvo

Volvo plant operation

Photo courtesy of Volvo Car USA

Volvo has announced that it will idle its South Carolina plant from March 26 to April 14. This news comes on the heels of an announcement that all the company's China plants are back open.

The next generation of Toyota's trucks and SUVs market was revealed via this leaked image.

Photo by Haskins, gr86.org

A participant at a recent Toyota dealership conference has leaked a slide to gr86.org showcasing Toyota's future product plans. It shows which models are slated for redesigns, and when.

It's important to note that Toyota hasn't confirmed any of the information in the image but the timeline seems likely based on cursory knowledge of the company's product development plans.

Additionally, at this time, it is unclear how the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis will impact this timeline.

2021 Toyota Sienna (Fall 2020)

First up is the Toyota Sienna. The so-called Swagger Wagon was supposed to have its debut at the New York International Auto Show in April (now rescheduled for August) then go on sale this autumn. This is the same planning that was underway for the Sienna's chief competition, the refreshed 2021 Honda Odyssey.

A note on the Sienna section points out that the model is "all hybrid." It's likely that the Sienna will get the 2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid's powertrain, a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a continuously variable transmission. The powertrain gets 243 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque, and 36 mpg combined in the Highlander. The current Sienna only gets 21 mpg combined. The new model will probably come in front- and all-wheel drive variants.

The biggest question is its price. The Highlander Hybrid starts at $38,200. That's around $7,000 more than the starting price of the 2020 Sienna, which does not have a hybrid option.

All-New Crossover (Fall 2020)

This one is also labeled "All-Hybrid". Toyota has sold a hybrid version of its C-HR in some global markets for the past few years. Could they be bringing a hybrid version of a refreshed C-HR to the U.S.? Could it be something else?

There is a chance that this is the Yaris-based crossover that Toyota was supposed to unveil during the cancelled Geneva Motor Show. However, that model is currently only slated for sale outside the U.S.

2022 Toyota 86 (Summer 2021)

The Toyota 86 started its run as the Scion FR-S in 2012 and was co-developed by Toyota in partnership with Subaru, who from the deal got the BRZ. Its timeline is right for a total redesign and both companies have acknowledged that such a move is currently underway. Seeing the model arrive on dealership lots in mid-2021 makes sense.

The post on gr86.org's forum says that the slide before this showed that the 2022 Toyota 86 will be powered by a turbocharged 2.4-liter Boxer four-cylinder engine. That's the same engine that is available in the redesigned 2020 Subaru Outback and Legacy that provides 260 horsepower to those models. However, that engine could be for the GR version of the 86 (possibly called the GR86), as a high-performance variant. Having 260 horsepower in a vehicle as lightweight as an 86 is a lot to handle for the average consumer.

All-New CUV (Q3 2021)

Toyota is well underway in the building of their shared Alabama production space with Mazda. The companies have confirmed that the first vehicles will roll off the line there in 2021. It would make sense for this slideshow slot to be occupied by the new SUV Toyota said would be produced there for the U.S. market after they shifted plans away from Corolla production. What will that new model be called? Will it be rugged? World is that Venza is under consideration.

2022 Toyota Tundra (Q4 2021)

When an engineer let it slip that long awaited redesigned Tundra model was coming in 2021 a few years ago during the Texas Truck Rodeo, it seemed too far away, but here we (almost) finally are. The platform of the Tundra is the gateway to a whole new generation of Toyota trucks and the end of 2021 will feel like they're just getting started with the truck reveals.

What's on tap? There's a good chance, given Toyota's commitment to electrified powertrains, that we'll see a Tundra Hybrid come to market. This powertrain could also serve as an option for a Sequoia Hybrid and 4Runner Hybrid. Both models currently suffer from low fuel efficiency and outdated features.

2022/2023 Toyota Sequoia and 2022/2023 Toyota 4Runner (2022)

In 2022, the trucks conversation really picks up. As stated above, expect electrified models that deliver the types of prowess and creature comforts that customers have long expected from the trucks.

Hopefully the 4Runner will also get better braking capability, but its innovations may takeover the traditional drive experience of the current-generation 4Runner, which is one of the things enthusiasts love about it.

In the meantime, there's new Trail and Nightshade editions of the trucks coming soon to a dealership near you.

2023 Toyota Tacoma

Though it hasn't made this slideshow, word on the street/a bar in Ann Arbor, Michigan is that the Tacoma will be revised for 2023. In the meantime, Toyota has given the Tacoma a facelift for the 2020 model year and confirmed that it's moving Tacoma production out of Texas.

The all-wheel drive system of the 2020 Toyota Camry was put to the test in Park City, Utah in early February by the AutomotiveMap team.

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

Toyota introduced its first all-wheel drive Camry in decades this year. They have made all-wheel drive an option for the 2020 Toyota Camry LE, SE, XLE, and XSE. Pricing has not yet been announced but will be revealed before the models go on sale later this year.

The 2020 Camry, along with the 2021 Toyota Avalon, has dynamic torque control all-wheel drive.

Mechanically this means that the car has two axles that each attach to two wheels. The axles are connected by a drive shaft.

2020 Toyota Camry Park City Utah course When wheels start slipping, the car's all-wheel drive system kicks in.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

At the intersection of the front axle and drive shaft is the transmission and a single speed transfer case. The transfer case is a mechanical device that transfers power from the transmission to the front and rear axles via the drive shaft.

At the intersection of the drive shaft and the rear axle, there is a differential. The differential is a set of gears that allows the car's wheels to revolve at different speeds.

On the drive shaft, between the differential and intersection of the drive shaft and transfer case is a coupler. The coupler doesn't sit in the middle, but rather about two-thirds of the way back toward the differential. The coupler is there to provide a mechanical backup in case one of the sets of wheels in the vehicle starts to slip. When this happens, the coupler applies additional torque to the non-slipping wheels in an effort to keep the car going in the direction the driver intended rather than the direction the skid is trying to force the car to go.

2020 Toyota Camry Park City Utah course The Camry has part-time all-wheel drive allowing drivers to take advantage of the technology as needed.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

In some vehicles, torque can be delivered to one, two, three, or all four wheels to varying degrees depending on what the road conditions require. In the Camry, the torque can only be delivered in equal amounts to both rear wheels.

Not all all-wheel drive systems operate all of the time. The ones that don't are called part-time all-wheel drive systems. This allows the driver to receive the benefits of an all-wheel drive system as well as the fuel efficiency that comes with front- or rear-wheel drive when the conditions are right.

2020 Toyota Camry Park City Utah course When traction is lost in either the front or back, Toyota's all-wheel drive system applies more torque to the wheels with traction to keep the car driving in the right direction.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

In the Camry's case, when the all-wheel drive system is not enabled, the car runs as a front-wheel drive model. This is the same as Camrys not equipped with all-wheel drive.