Ford restarts all its operations south of the border, FCA adds shifts

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Ford Motor Co. has restarted its plants in Mexico after weeks of shutdown due to the coronavirus, it said Monday.

The automaker offered little detail on exactly when it restarted its four plants in Mexico or how many shifts it would operate, other than to say the restart is gradual.

“The safety of our workforce is our top priority,” said Ford spokesman Said Deep, in an email to the Free Press. “Working closely with government, suppliers and union leaders, Ford de México is gradually resuming operations and production under the strictest protocols to keep our employees healthy and safe. We have resumed operations at our four sites.”

Mexico’s auto industry is working to catch up to the demand by automakers in the United States for supplier parts and in-demand vehicles after falling behind by weeks because of the coronavirus pandemic. Even now, it must restart amid concerns over rising coronavirus deaths and a fragile economy.

Deep said Ford will continue to collaborate with Mexico’s government leaders to comply with established health and safety protocols.

Ford is the last of the Detroit Three to restart operations south of the border. There is a lot of interconnection between the Detroit Three and manufacturing in Mexico. The automakers’ operations in Mexico build profitable vehicles that are sold in the United States. They also make parts used on cars built at U.S. assembly plants. In some cases, engines that are made at the carmakers’ U.S. plants are sent to Mexico for use in vehicle assembly there too.

Here are Ford plants in Mexico:

Cuautitlan Stamping

Cuautitlan Assembly: all-electric Mustang Mach-E SUV

Hermosillo Stamping

Hermosillo Assembly: Ford Fusion, Lincoln MKZ

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles restarted its operations in Mexico last week and was starting to add second shifts to its Saltillo Truck and Van plants Monday, and FCA spokeswoman said.

On May 25, FCA initiated a gradual restart of its plants in the northern city of Saltillo, where it started with about 40% of its staff. The next day the automaker restarted the Toluca Assembly plant, where FCA builds its Dodge Journey and Fiat Freemont crossovers.

FCA confirmed that it was running one shift. FCA has engine and stamping plants and a pickup and van assembly plant in Saltillo. The plant builds the popular Ram 1500 and Ram Heavy Duty pickups.

More: FCA restarts operations in Mexico, building Jeep Compass

The company, which idled its operations in Mexico in March, has seven facilities south of the border in two cities.

Here are the FCA plants in Mexico:

Saltillo Engine Plant in Ramos Arizpe, Coahuila

Saltillo South Engine Plant

Saltillo Stamping Plant

Saltillo Truck Assembly Plant: Ram 1500, Ram Heavy Duty Trucks

Saltillo Van Assembly Plant: Ram ProMaster

Toluca Assembly Plant: Jeep Compass, Dodge Journey, Fiat Freemont

Toluca Stamping Plant

General Motors, meanwhile, restarted its three assembly plants and powertrain and stamping plants in Mexico on May 21.

GM’s Silao plant in Guanajuato, Mexico, is one of the biggest auto plants in the large Mexican industrial state. The Silao plant is critical for GM because it builds some of the automaker’s light-duty pickups. GM also builds full-size pickups at its Flint Assembly plant and Fort Wayne Assembly plant in Indiana.

Here are GM’s plants in Mexico:

Ramos Arizpe Vehicle Assembly: Chevrolet Blazer, Equinox SUVs

San Luis Potosi Assembly: Chevrolet Equinox, Trax, GMC Terrain SUVs

Silao Assembly Plant: Chevrolet Silverado light-duty crew cab, regular cab

Toluca Engine and casting plant

The Detroit Three restarted their U.S. operations on May 18 with one shift.

GM delayed adding additional shifts at key pickup and SUV plants because of a parts shortage from parts plants in Mexico still being offline. On Monday, GM added second shifts, and in some cases, third shifts to U.S. plants to ramp up production to full capacity.

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