WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Honda Motor Co (7267.T) said on Thursday it will extend a shutdown of its North American auto plants by one week through May 8, while also extending unpaid leave for many salaried workers during the coronavirus pandemic.
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Honda is seen during the 87th International Motor Show at Palexpo in Geneva, Switzerland March 8, 2017. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann
The Japanese automaker, which began closing North American production on March 23, also said it is extending a two-week furlough for the majority of salaried and support associates by another week.
Separately, General Motors Co (GM.N) said on Thursday it was considering calling back some workers next week to prepare for the restart of production in North America that could begin as early as May 4, but said no final decisions have been made.
Ford Motor Co (F.N) is also considering asking some workers to return next week to prepare for the restart of production, a person familiar with the matter said. Ford said it has not decided on a date for resuming production while Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (FCHA.MI) previously said it hoped to resume North American production on May 4.
The United Auto Workers union has been in talks with Detroit’s Big Three automakers about when and how to resume production.
UAW President Rory Gamble said in a statement on Wednesday the talks were focused on “enhanced protections that will ensure confidence of members working in a comfortable and safe environment.”
Nearly all automakers have now halted North American production for a month. Auto sales have fallen sharply with most Americans under stay-at-home restrictions.
On Wednesday, Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE) said it plans to restart its Tennessee plant on May 3, while Daimler AG (DAIGn.DE) plans to restart sport utility vehicle production at its Tuscaloosa, Alabama, plant on April 27.
Last week, Nissan Motor Co (7201.T) said it will extend a shutdown of U.S. manufacturing plants until mid-May, while Subaru Corp (7270.T) plans to restart production at its Indiana assembly plant on May 11.
Automakers are ramping up cleaning, staggering start times, instituting temperature checks, giving employees new protective equipment and taking steps to separate workers and limit contact.
Reporting by David Shepardson; additional reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit Editing by Tom Brown and Grant McCool