We mentioned earlier this week that Ford China was playing it safe when it came to potentially exposing its employees to the deadly coronavirus outbreak in China. Part of its plan to keep its employees healthy was to limit travel in China even though it didn’t operate manufacturing facilities in Wuhan, the epicenter of the viral outbreak. Ford China has announced that it will resume production at its Chinese factories on February 10th.
The factory that Ford China will reopen is the facility it operates as a joint venture with its partner Chongqing Changan Automobile. Ford also operates a manufacturing facility in Hangzhou that will reopen. The factories will open after the local government extended the Lunar New Year holiday as an attempt to keep people safe from the coronavirus that has so far killed over 130 people in China.
The opening of the Ford plant comes eight days after the end of the extended Lunar New Year holiday in China. Traditionally the holiday lasts a week, but the Chinese government added three days to the holiday this year, making it last through February 2nd. The coronavirus outbreak in China has officials and healthcare providers from all over the world working to fight the virus. In addition to killing over 130 people in China, the virus has also infected thousands more.
Cases have been diagnosed in the United States and Europe. Ford wasn’t alone in limiting travel to China amid the outbreak. Rival GM and European automaker Renault did as well. Renault will be reopening its Chinese factory in Wuhan, which it operates with the Dongfeng Group, the same day that Ford reopens its plants. Toyota plans to keep a factory it operates in China closed through February 9th.