COVID-19: Ford temporarily suspends production in SA, India, Thailand, Vietnam

The company said the shutdown would continue for several weeks.

FILE: Workers on a vehicle assembly line. Picture: @FordSouthAfrica/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - The Ford Motor Company has decided to temporarily halt vehicle and engine production at its factories in South Africa, India, Thailand, and Vietnam in response to the growing impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The company said the shutdown would continue for several weeks.

“The health and safety of our employees, dealers, customers, partners, and communities is our highest priority,” said international markets group president Mark Ovenden in a statement.

“We are continuing to act in real-time and taking added safety measures by temporarily halting production at our manufacturing sites in the international markets,” he added.

Ford moved to generate cash last week, drawing down $15.4 billion from two credit lines and suspending its dividend. The company also abandoned its 2020 financial forecast and said the cash would be used to deal with a squeeze on capital caused by the shutdowns in production.

The number two US automaker last week suspended vehicle and engine production at manufacturing sites in continental Europe. It also decided to temporarily stop production last week at its London site and from Tuesday at its welsh facility.