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Ford has announced that they are temporarily suspending European Production in response to Coronavirus. It's meant to help with efforts to help contain the spread of the virus.
  • Vehicle and engine production suspended at Ford’s main manufacturing sites in continental Europe from Thursday, March 19
  • Temporary suspension of production expected to last for a number of weeks depending on pandemic situation, national restrictions, supplier constraints and dealer stock requirements
  • Action taken as national governments restrict all but essential travel and personal contact, and with vehicle sales and component suppliers affected across the continent
Here's the full announcement:

COLOGNE, Germany, March 17, 2020 – Ford is temporarily suspending vehicle and engine production at its manufacturing sites in continental Europe in response to the growing impact of the Coronavirus. Effective from Thursday, March 19, it is expected that this action will continue for a number of weeks.

The action follows the World Health Organization’s designation of Europe as the new epicentre of the coronavirus epidemic with the number of reported cases growing significantly in recent days and expected to continue to rise rapidly. Ford’s decision to temporarily halt production also will contribute towards the efforts to contain the virus spread.

“While the impact of coronavirus at our facilities so far has been limited thankfully, its effects on our employees, dealers, suppliers and customers, as well as European society as a whole, is unprecedented,” said Stuart Rowley, president, Ford of Europe. “Due to the dramatic impact this ongoing crisis is having on the European market and the supplier industry – together with the recent actions by countries to restrict all but essential travel and personal contact – we are temporarily halting production at our main continental Europe manufacturing sites.”

Component supplies to Ford manufacturing sites in Europe have been increasingly interrupted, while sales of vehicles across the industry have declined with dealerships required to temporarily close their sales operations in some countries. However, the servicing of vehicles is regarded as an important societal need and Ford dealerships are continuing to provide essential maintenance and service across the continent.

The Ford vehicle manufacturing sites in Cologne and Saarlouis in Germany, together with the Craiova facility in Romania, will temporarily halt production from Thursday, March 19. Ford’s Valencia assembly and engine facility in Spain already temporarily halted production from Monday, March 16, after three workers were confirmed with coronavirus over the past weekend. Only essential work, such as maintenance and security, will continue onsite.

Impacted employees in Europe are being contacted by their supervisors with more information about their specific site details.

While it is hoped this action will only be required for a short period, the exact duration depends on a number of factors. These include the spread of the coronavirus; national government and European Union restrictions on movement, including across borders; the supplier industry’s ability to supply components; and the return of customers to dealerships, many of which are now closed as part of the measures taken at a national level.

The measures announced today follow actions announced last week requiring all employees to work remotely unless they are performing a business-critical job that requires being onsite. The working remotely policy will continue, until further notice, in a continued effort to help contain the virus. Precautionary measures are being taken to protect the safety of the small number of employees who are unable to work from home.

“It is at difficult times like these when we must stand united and put people first,” added Rowley. “We at Ford will play our part in the weeks ahead to help get through this crisis, reduce its spread and alleviate its effects wherever we can.”
 

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surely everyone here knows why im asking this but do yall suppose they will do the same for the manufacturing plant in Mexico?
 

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No need to yet. According to today's WHO situation report (Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) situation reports)
For example, Germany has 4838 cases including 1043 new today, and 12 deaths
Mexico has 53 cases, 12 new, no deaths.

Mexico may need to do it later but they aren't there yet. Ford Europe has 10 manufacturing facilities in 7 countries. So far Poland, where the LG batteries are made, isn't too badly hit either.
 

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BUSINESS NEWS
MARCH 17, 2020 / 10:25 AM / UPDATED 2 HOURS AGO
UAW seeks U.S. auto plant shutdown as COVID-19 crisis deepens

 

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No need to yet. According to today's WHO situation report (Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) situation reports)
For example, Germany has 4838 cases including 1043 new today, and 12 deaths
Mexico has 53 cases, 12 new, no deaths.

Mexico may need to do it later but they aren't there yet.
So you're suggesting they should first let the situation get out of control (as it has in many European countries) and THEN take any appropriate measures?

As much as I'd hate to see any delays in the delivery of my Mach E, this is bigger than getting a new car in time.
 

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So you're suggesting they should first let the situation get out of control (as it has in many European countries) and THEN take any appropriate measures?
No, not at all. If you read the CDC guidelines, there are many steps businesses should take prior to shutting down operations. In fact, closures and social distancing do not come into play until there is widespread community transmission.

As of today's WHO situation report, there is no community transmission anywhere within Mexico. All cases are imported (the result of travelers from high-risk areas, primarily disembarked cruise ship passengers). There is no need to even impose social distancing at this time in Mexico. However, international travel restrictions are in order. Mexico is considering closing the border the keep out people from the US.

Poland, where LG makes the batteries, only has 150 cases in the entire country and no new cases in the last 24 hours. There is community transmission. The voivodeship (state) in which the Kobierzyce, Poland plant now reports 11 cases, so they may have reached the threshold at which social distancing is needed.

Even once protective measures are needed, many manufacturing facilities can continue to operate safely for quite some time if they have sufficient automation to keep workers separated. You can find the CDC guidelines for workplace measures at: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) - Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers. My daughter is an industrial chemist here in Maryland. Our Governor issued orders against gatherings of more than 50 and schools are closed. However, under both state and CDC guidelines, her facility is still operating but utilizing social distancing and other measures to avoid transmission.

I expect both the Cuautitlan Ford plant and the Kobierzyce LG plant may have to pause operations at some point. However, there is no sense doing so before it is needed. Plant closures frequently result in loss of income and/or medical care for workers. Such losses need to be minimized or they can further exacerbate the social disruption epidemics cause.
 

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I agree with the second part, i.e. that some facilities might still be able to operate, if they can separate workers and utilize automation. Key word: "might".

But regarding the first part, it's based on assumptions that have been found to be false in al countries that went down this path. This virus is far more contagious than expected and any country that has tried to contain it without applying the strictest of measures has failed. And trust me, no one wants to take such a huge hit to their economy! The only reason one country after the other is applying these measures is because they're seeing the virus can't be stopped otherwise.

The stats you mention don't tell the whole story and depend on many factors, including societal, economic and political factors. No one really knows how many people are actually sick in Mexico or Poland, if everyone is being tested or not, if cases are being under-reported and at the end of the day, if some countries prefer to have more dead than take a larger economic hit.

In my country, if you are sick, the orders are to stay home (where everyone is, anyway) and NOT go to the hospital and/or get tested, unless you develop serious symptoms (breathing difficulty etc.). Therefore, it's widely accepted that current cases are at least 10x what is being reported.

Or take Turkey, for example. They were reporting zero cases for a long time (when they thought this would be over quickly) which was obviously a joke and even now they are hugely under-reporting, with the country's doctor's association issuing a statement directly accusing the government of falsifying data. They have their reasons for doing that, same as other countries might.

In any case, this is obviously not the place to really go into a detailed discussion about this, I'm just saying things are not as simple as they might seem.
 

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Agreed, Symos. I just wanted to make it quite clear that I don't want to see things get out of control in Poland and Mexico, as you claimed I was suggesting. Equally, they don't need to close before it is necessary or longer than is necessary as there are tremendous social costs to plant closures as well.

A little more reading reveals that Poland has sealed its borders, closed malls and schools and banned gatherings of more than 50 people. They have declared a state of ‘epidemiological emergency’ but not yet a full state of emergency. A plant closure there may be at least a week away based on the local case load but may happen sooner if supply chains are disrupted.

As for Mexico, at this point:
  • The Mexican Ministry of Education has closed all schools from March 20 until April 20.
  • Between March 23 and April 19, the Mexican government has declared a social-distancing campaign consisting of four pillars.
  1. Take basic preventative measures: wash your hands, avoid handshakes and kisses, and stay home if you are sick.
  2. Suspend non-essential public-sector, private-sector, and social activities. Employees who can telework should do so. Public transit will remain operational.
  3. Organizers of large events with more than 5,000 attendees will reschedule or postpone them.
  4. Protect the elderly and vulnerable.

Mexican officials are now reporting 93 cases, only 6 in the State of Mexico where the Cuautitlan plant is located (but 23 in nearby Mexico city). Community transmission has not yet been reported.

It is my hope that both Ford in Mexico and LG in Poland are on top of this and will take the most appropriate measures for their situations to weather the coronavirus.
 

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No need to yet. According to today's WHO situation report (Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) situation reports)
For example, Germany has 4838 cases including 1043 new today, and 12 deaths
Mexico has 53 cases, 12 new, no deaths.

Mexico may need to do it later but they aren't there yet. Ford Europe has 10 manufacturing facilities in 7 countries. So far Poland, where the LG batteries are made, isn't too badly hit either.
Later ? Let's do the exponential maths. Doubling every 5 days so that after 50 days .... you have 4838 x 10^(50/5) = 5million (approx) infected. Another 3 weeks after that almost all the entire country of 129million people is infected. So less than only 3 months from now everyone will be infected - assuming left completely unchecked and no restrictions in place. That said, Mexico is a young demographic country so that probably <0.4% of the population would die. So less than 1 in 200 people would die over the year. That's only one about quarter of the natural death rate. They may consider that is a price worth paying than flatlining the economy for a year
 

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