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: The plant is now closed through April 30.

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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: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV on April 6 said it is extending its manufacturing shutdown in the United States and Canada until May 4

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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: Honda Motor Co on April 7 said that it had furloughed workers at its U.S. plants, which will be closed until May 1. They are set to resume production May 4.

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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 is planning to resume work on May 4.

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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: KMMG is aiming to reopen on April 27.

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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: In North America, Nissan is planning on reopening in mid-May.

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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: Subaru aims to restart production May 8.

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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: On April 7, Toyota announced that all U.S. production operations will be closed until May 1.

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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: Volkswagen plans to restart its plants on May 3.

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UPDATE: Volkswagen of America said on April 9 that it will furlough production and maintenance workers at at its Chattanooga plant starting April 11. The company is expecting the furloughs to last no more than four weeks.

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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

UPDATE: Volvo intends to restart operations at its South Carolina plant on May 4.

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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.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept shows of the possible future of a V8 under the hood of a Jeep.

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

The Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept model shows that the production model of a V8-powered Wrangler (and possibly Gladiator) is likely on the way - and that's straight from the people in the know at FCA.

Jeep Wrangler enthusiasts have been asking us for a Wrangler -8 and our new Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept proves that we have the ability to make that happen," said Jim Morrison, Head of Jeep Brand – FCA North America. "From the recently introduced 29-mpg Wrangler EcoDiesel to our award-winning Jeep Gladiator, and the upcoming Wrangler 4xe plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, Jeep is clearly listening to its customers. We are anxious to gauge their reaction to this new Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept, a vehicle that delivers an incredible and unmatched level of fun-to-drive performance and capability, on- and off-road."

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept The model is pretty standard for a modern Wrangler Rubicon - on the outside.Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

It's been a hot minute since there was a V8 under the hood of a Jeep. The last model to wear its power proudly was the 1981 Jeep CJ, which had a 5.0-liter V8 that delivered 125 horsepower and 220 pound-feet of torque.

The Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept is powered by a 6.4-liter (392-cubic-inch) HEMI V8 that delivers 450 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque. That power gives the concept a zero to 60 mph time of less than five seconds.

Its engine is paired with a more robust version of the traditional eight-speed automatic, something that the HEMI in the Charger Scat Pack gets as well.

The parts roster includes Rubicon rock rails, steel bumpers with a Warn winch, and a steel belly pan. It also comes with Dana 44 axles, Selec-Track full-time two-speed transfer case (3.73 gear ratio), and Tru-Lok electric front- and rear-axle locking differentials. The SUV rides on custom 17-inch deadlock wheels that are wrapped in 37-inch mud-terrain tires.

The suspension of the typical Wrangler JL has been upgraded to include new aluminum, monotube Fox shocks, and two-mode exhaust, which is adjustable at the touch of a button.

The company has installed a factory Jeep Performance Parts two-inch lift kit from Mopar.

All that equipment gives the model some impressive numbers. It has a water fording capability of 34 inches, 13.25 inches of ground clearance, an approach angle of 51.6 degrees, a breaker angle of 29.5 degrees, and a departure angle of 40.1 degrees. It's Trail Rated.

Jeep has given the concept a Granite Crystal paint job, bronze-colored tow hooks, badging, springs, shocks, and wheels. There's a heavy-duty raised hood, custom half doors, and Wrangler's Sky One-touch powertop.

The concepts interior features a Red Rock-colored leather bolstered seats with gold stitching, along with a performance steering wheel.

When will you see the production version of the V8? These things take time, but remember, the auto show circuit looks to pick up in earnest early next year, and we have the Wrangler 4xe to see first.

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Thought the 2021 Toyota Corolla Cross just debuted in Thailand, it could be slated to come to the U.S.

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Corporation

Let's face it, the Toyota CH-R was never really supposed to be a Toyota. The model, destined to be a Scion, had its life's direction altered when Scion closed up shop and parent company Toyota merged select members of its lineup with the Toyota line. For the last three years, the model has been doing its damnedest to escape the Scion mold, but hasn't. It remains the odd duck in the stable, not delivering the high-quality interior, good handling, and capability that earns the brand sufficient praise.

Enter: the Toyota Corolla Cross. Though its name doesn't quite invoke the feelings, of "Why? Whhhhhhyyyy?" that the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross moniker does, the Corolla Cross name is clearly a strategic move meant to capitalize on the one already worn by one of the best-selling cars of all time.

2021 Toyota Corolla Cross

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Corporation

Marketed as "Corolla Meets SUV", the Corolla Cross looks like it executes at every level. It rides on the same TNGA platform as the Toyota Prius, Prius Prime, C-HR, and Corolla, and the Lexus UX. That architecture make the slightly longer and taller Corolla Cross spacious with class-leading cargo room for its class.

Though the model is undoubtedly going to be modified a smidge if it comes to America, Toyota has outlined its highlights as part of its launch in Thailand.

The Corolla Cross makes much of its looks from the RAV4, but it's a copy. It's a natural progression of the design language, the same way the Highlander is. Toyota notes that this design allows for an "impressive rearview".

A new torsion-beam suspension delivers a cushioned ride. Toyota notes that the Corolla Cross is easy to maneuver and has a tight turning circle.

Toyota is selling the front-wheel drive model with a traditional gasoline-powered engine setup and as a hybrid. These variants are similar to the Corolla and Lexus UX in the States.

The gasoline-powered model has a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers 140 horsepower and 129 pound-feet of torque. The hybrid model returns 122 total system horsepower. Both engines are paired with a CVT.

The interior has good headroom and wide door openings. These are similar characteristics to the modern Corolla.

Toyota has already trademarked the Corolla Cross name for the U.S. according to Car & Driver. The model, which would fill a slot in Toyota product plans that were leaked earlier this year, may be the vehicle set to be made at the end joint Mazda-Toyota plant that is under construction in Alabama. It would fill the gap between the C-HR and RAV4 in the Toyota lineup, and compete directly with the Kia Seltos and Hyundai Kona.

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