Things are looking up in the automotive industry as states have reopened their doors to manufacturing. Last week, General Motors Company began increasing production of light-duty trucks and crossovers in North American plants and reopening others that had been closed since mid-March in response to COVID-19.
“The restart of vehicle production at General Motors’ component and assembly plants in North America has gone smoothly thanks to strong teamwork,” said an official GM statement. “Our comprehensive safety procedures are working well, and our suppliers have done a great job implementing their return-to-work strategies and safety playbooks. We are now in a position to increase production to meet strengthening customer demand and strong dealer demand.”
The company is stepping up production by reopening five idled U.S. locations and adding two more shifts at truck plants in Missouri, Indiana, and Michigan, where workers returned on May 18. This means that some factories would return to pre-coronavirus levels of three shifts. GM manufactures the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra Pick-ups at Michigan and Indiana plants, while mid-size pick-ups like the Chevrolet Colorado are produced in Missouri.
With the demand for pick-up trucks rising quickly, GM expects the majority of its 48,000 factory employees to be working again by next week with special COVID-19 safetey protocol in place. To keep workers safe, most automakers are enforcing policies that include keeping staff at least six feet apart, monitoring employee temperatures, and regularly sanitizing work stations. GM also requires employees to wear masks and has installed plastic screens along the assembly lines to isolate their staff. Government officials are closely monitoring plants to make sure their safety measures remain effective.
While some vehicles have struggled to sell during the pandemic, pick-up trucks have done surprisingly well. So much so that dealers are running out of inventory. GM is working hard to get stock back to their dealers and hopes to return plants to full production by mid-June.