COVID-19 shutdown: Ford suspends operations at SA factories_1

Motor vehicle manufacturer Ford has begun suspending operations worldwide, shutting down factories across the globe in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ford announced that operations began shutting down at their facilities on 21 March and they have taken a wait-and-see approach to restarting production.

Ford announce shutdown of production

Two of the production plants affected by the shutdown are located in South Africa. The Silverton assembly plant in Pretoria and the Struandale engine plant in Nelson Mandela Bay are expected to completely halt production by 27 March.

The fifth-largest automaker in the world affirmed their commitment to putting the health and safety of its workers, customers and the wider public before profits.

“The health and safety of our employees, dealers, customers, partners and communities is our highest priority,” said Mark Ovenden, president, International Markets Group at Ford Motor Company.
“We are continuing to act in real-time and taking added safety measures by temporarily halting production at our manufacturing sites in the international markets.”

Ford’s president urged people across the globe to comply with government-issued COVID-19 guidelines.

The company has stepped up their response to the pandemic having previously suspended production in North America, Europe and South America.

The global shutdown will see Ford temporarily close facilities in India, Vietnam and Thailand.

“In these extraordinary times, we must come together to put our people first. We will continue working across our region to explore additional protocols and procedures to help prevent the spread of the virus and define new work practices to lessen its effects wherever we can,” said Ovenden.

Other responses to COVID-19

The world’s largest car-maker Toyota announced this week that it would be suspending production for 7 production lines in 5 plants starting from 3 April.

Two Toyota factory workers in Japan have tested positive for the COVID-19 Coronavirus.

“Toyota announced that a second male, full-time employee in his 20’s working as a line worker at its Takaoka plant in Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture, Japan has tested positive for COVID-19,” a statement from the Japanese company read.
“The employee in question (Employee ‘B’) was a close contact of the Toyota employee who tested positive for COVID-19 on 19 March (Employee ‘A’). The two individuals worked face-to-face in the same production line. Employee B has not come to work since developing a fever on the evening of 18 March. Employee B took the COVID-19 virus test on 21 March and was diagnosed as positive today.
“After learning on 19 March that Employee A could be positive for COVID-19, Toyota ordered 11 individuals who had previously been in close contact with him to stay home. This included Employee B. In addition because Employee B had developed a fever, on 20 March, the company ordered five more individuals to stay home as a precautionary measure.
“As Toyota has now confirmed a secondary infection within the same workplace, we have ordered 17 more team members to stay home. With this addition, a total of 33 team members have now been asked to stay home.
“Toyota immediately and thoroughly disinfected the affected work sites on 19 March when the initial infection was suspected. However, following this new confirmed infection, we will close the building in which the two employees worked for three working days, from 23 March to 25, to disinfect the workplace again and consider any additional countermeasures that may be needed to prevent further spread of the virus. As a result of this shutdown, Takaoka plant production line #1 will halt production for the same period.
“We sincerely apologize for any anxiety or concern that this news may cause for people in the surrounding regions. We will do our best to will implement measures to prevent further spread of the virus and provide timely updates if the situation changes.”

Ford, Toyota, BMW, Nissan, Isuzu, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen all operate production plants in South Africa.