Earlier this month, Ford was planning to restart production at its Hermosillo Assembly Plant. Other Ford plants that are closed due to COVID-19 were supposed to reopen on April 14. For now, Ford has announced that several of its North American production facilities have closed indefinitely.
The only exception is the Rawsonville Components Plant, which hopes to produce 50,000 ventilators by July 4 thanks to United Auto Workers who are volunteering to make these. “The health and safety of our workforce, dealers, customers, partners, and communities remains our highest priority. We are working very closely with union leaders — especially at the UAW-to develop additional health and safety procedures aimed at helping keep our workforce safe and healthy,” Ford’s President of North America, Kumar Galhotra, said.
UAW International President Rory Gamble backed up Galhotra’s statement with one of his own. “Today’s decision by Ford is the right decision for our members, their families, and our nation. Under vice president Gerald Kariem, the UAW Ford Department continues to work closely with our local unions and Ford to make sure that as we return to production all members are safe, and our communities are protected from this spreading pandemic.”
I think it’s a good thing that Ford is taking measures to keep its workforce safe, but I want to highlight one thing that I picked up on. It appears Ford isn’t paying anyone to make ventilators — those making the ventilators are volunteers, people donating their time to make these life-saving devices. These volunteers are heroes. Thank you to them.
I truly hope Ford succeeds and reopens, because we need major auto manufacturers to provide the many jobs that they do for our overall economic strength, but if we are going to focus on a greener, cleaner world, we also need major auto manufacturers like Ford to step up in producing EVs. Tesla is great and has led the way, but it’s time for others to really take things seriously. One alarming wake-up call should be the photos of a smog-free Los Angeles. Imagine if all major automakers stopped producing gas and diesel vehicles immediately and started focusing only on EVs and production. Ford could perhaps take this opportunity to get ready for a big rollout of the Ford Mustang Mach-E. Maybe it could spend some time considering how to relaunch with that as the focus vehicle. It certainly deserves to be the primary halo car of the Ford brand.