Auto parts makers pivot to medical supply production amid pandemic
Honda Motor Co. will resume operations at its vehicle and auto-parts factories in the U.S. and Canada starting on May 11, joining a caravan of other carmakers restarting North American production this month for the first time since mid-March.
The Japanese automaker said Friday it will gradually ramp up output and stagger its reopening to allow workers to get used to new safety practices, including temperature checks and social-distancing measures. Honda closed plants on March 23 as the coronavirus outbreak forced the shutdown of virtually all auto manufacturing on the continent.
Honda said all salaried staff will return to work on May 8 or May 11, depending on location. Those workers were furloughed in mid-April, though the company continued to provide medical and other benefits.
Toyota Motor Corp. also plans to reopen U.S. plants from May 11, while Nissan Motor Co. on Thursday said it would delay its restart indefinitely while it evaluates market demand and the readiness of its supply base. Detroit’s three automakers have announced plans to resume production in the U.S. beginning May 18.