General Motors Executive Vice President of Global Manufacturing Gerald Johnson expressed his hope that US manufacturing would have the same kind of success rates in keeping the coronavirus from entering their facilities as they’ve had in China and South Korea. The head of manufacturing for GM spoke in a webinar sponsored by the Detroit Chamber of Commerce and reported by The Detroit Bureau.
So far, GM has been successful in the fight and no new cases of COVID-19 have been reported at any of its facilities in China or South Korea, nor in the USA where efforts have been underway to prepare the restart of manufacturing. “We have had no transmission of the virus in our facilities. Not in China. Not in South Korea and not in North America,” said Johnson.
Johnson also discusses the safety protocols that have been put into place at GM facilities worldwide. They include workers wearing masks and other safety equipment, as well as changing common areas to address social distancing. Workers will have their temperatures taken before entering the facilities in case they might be carrying the virus but not showing other symptoms.
The head of GM’s manufacturing facilities in the USA has also recently weighed in on the subject as employees will head back to work beginning May 18 and he expressed optimism that they could be back to their original capacity by mid-June:
“Not every facility will ramp up as fast as possible,” said Philip Kienle, head of North American manufacturing for GM in a conference call earlier this week. “Ideally, in a perfect world, by around June 15, all of our facilities would be operating at their original capacity.”
That would be great news for the 2020 Corvette which has seen its production line idled since March 20th. The car has been a hot seller for Chevrolet and others have previously named the Corvette and trucks as the products to prioritize during the ramp-up.
Indeed, we recently learned that the Bedford plant in Indiana stayed operational during the entire shutdown as a skeleton crew was able to keep producing the crucial aluminum structures for the C8 Corvette’s chassis.
In the end, the ability to get the 2020 Corvette back up and running down the production line may have to do more with the efforts of the various vendors to keep the supply chaining moving. Experts warn that it could only take one key supplier to knock the production of a vehicle off-track and as result, automakers are reaching out to those vendors to lend any assistance to possible in advance of the manufacturing restarting.
The Detroit Bureau
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