Summer vaykay is being cut short at Ford, GM, and FCA.
Automakers have plenty of catching up to do.
The two months of US factory downtime necessitated by the global coronavirus pandemic earlier this year meant two months that Ford, GM, and other automakers with US manufacturing bases weren't producing new vehicles, allowing inventories to dwindle. That was offset some by an economic slowdown that meant relatively fewer sales over the same period, but not entirely.
To make up for lost time, Ford, GM, and FCA are all planning to reduce or cancel many of the summer breaks that they typically extend to auto workers at plants across the country.
GM is planning to keep most of its assembly plants open during the weeks of June 29 and July 6 - weeks that they would ordinarily be closed - GM spokesperson Jim Cain told Automotive News recently. And over at Ford, a number of plants will shutter for one week instead of the usual two.
Ford's Flat Rock Assembly Plant, which produces the Ford Mustang and Lincoln Continental, will reportedly close only for the week of August 3, while Chicago Assembly, Louisville Assembly, and Kentucky Truck will suspend operations just for the week of June 29. Those latter three produce a big chunk of Ford's SUV and crossover models, plus the F-250 through F-550 Ford F-Series Super Duty.
Meanwhile, an FCA spokesperson revealed that most of the company's US assembly plants will not observe any summer shutdown this year, without specifying which plants would be excepted.
While the reduced plant shutdowns should help put a dent in automakers' dwindling inventories, it's expected that they won't be producing at quite the same rate as usual as a result of extra precautions being taken to lessen the risk of Covid 19's spread. Vehicles at many plants will be more spaced out, allowing workers to maintain more physical distance, with additional protocols pertaining to workstation sanitation, temperature screenings, and regular health questionnaires.