Like many other companies, Ford (F), General Motors (GM) and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles(FCA) are encouraging employees to work from home if possible, to avoid potentially spreading or catching the coronavirus.
“If the nature of your work allows for it, we are asking all GM employees and contract workers to work remotely, beginning Monday, March 16,” GM CEO Mary Barra said in a memo to employees.
Ford and Fiat Chrysler said they are also asking employees to work from home in locations around the world. These policies may not apply in China, the companies said, because workers in that country have already been dealing with the coronavirus for months. In China, the work situation is beginning to return to normal, Ford spokesman Mark Truby said.
Of course, none of this applies to workers whose jobs involve handing tools, sorting and shipping parts, testing prototype vehicles or many other jobs can’t be done from a kitchen table. All these companies’ factories remain open and, Ford’s Truby said, product development programs remain on schedule. GM said it is adjusting work schedules for manufacturing and product development workers to allow for additional cleaning to keep the virus at bay.
Fiat Chrysler is making changes at some at its plants to deal with the coronavirus threat. One worker at Fiat Chrysler’s Kokomo, Indiana, transmission factory tested positive for the virus.
“In manufacturing, we are changing our production techniques at several plants to enable greater space between employees at work-stations,” FCA CEO Mike Manley said in a note to employees.
Car dealerships are almost all independent businesses and are not owned by car manufacturers so these policies don’t apply to them. Dealerships will be dealing with this situation in their own ways.