Autos

Ford, Fiat Chrysler returning to pre-coronavirus production levels

Key Points
  • Ford and Fiat Chrysler expect to return to pre-coronavirus pandemic production schedules at their U.S. plants on Monday. 
  • The return of shifts is a major milestone for the automakers as they attempt to meet consumer demand for profitable pickups and SUVs.
  • General Motors plans to return to full North American production levels by the end of June.
Ford started resuming vehicle production in the U.S. on May 18, 2020 with new coronavirus safety protocols such as health assessments, personal protective equipment and facility modifications to increase social distancing.
Ford

Ford Motor and Fiat Chrysler expect to return to pre-coronavirus pandemic production schedules at their U.S. plants on Monday. 

The return of shifts, which were confirmed Friday, is a major milestone for the automakers as they attempt to meet consumer demand for profitable pickups and SUVs.

"We are pleased to be able to return to our normal operating pattern in the U.S. on Monday — which is sooner than expected — because our workforce and suppliers are able to support," Ford spokeswoman Kelli Felker said in an emailed statement. "The safety of our workforce continues to be our top priority."

Ford shares were up about 2% Friday morning to $6.47. Fiat Chrysler stock was up 0.6% to $9.41.

Ford Chief Operating Officer Jim Farley previously said the company plans to have its North American production back to pre-pandemic levels by July 6. He said the company continues to ramp-up operations in Mexico, where it has two assembly plants.

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Fiat Chrysler, according to spokeswoman Jodi Tinson, has returned to pre-pandemic shifts in Mexico. She declined to comment on whether the North American plants have returned to full production output. 

Fiat Chrysler's last plant to return to pre-pandemic shifts is Belvidere Assembly in Illinois, which produces the Jeep Cherokee. The plant's second shift is scheduled to return Monday.

Automakers shuttered U.S. plants in March as the coronavirus rapidly spread across the country. The Detroit automakers started to resume vehicle production on May 18.

The last plants in the U.S. to return for Ford were third shifts at plants in Chicago, Dearborn, Michigan, and Louisville, Kentucky. The plants primarily make pickups and SUVs.

General Motors plans to return to full North American production levels by the end of June, if not sooner, GM CEO and Chairman Mary Barra has said. A GM spokesman confirmed those plans Friday.