Both Toyota and Volkswagen have hit the pause button on their plans to restart U.S. production next week, with Toyota implementing a one-week delay to May 11 and VW declining to say when it might call back production workers.
"Before setting a new start date, Volkswagen of America will weigh the readiness of the supplier base, as well as market demand and the status of the COVID-19 outbreak," the automaker said in a statement released Wednesday. "The company will continue to work from an organizational perspective and refine and strengthen the health and safety measures to safeguard our employees."
Volkswagen suspended production at its Chattanooga Assembly plant, which builds the Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport crossovers as well as the Passat sedan, March 21. Production and maintenance employees there were furloughed April 11, though the automaker has maintained their health care benefits and premium payments.
Also Wednesday, Toyota Motor North America said it was delaying for one week its planned Monday, May 4, return to production in North America, “based on an extensive review with our supplier and logistics network.” Instead, Toyota said its factories would now plan to return to production the week of May 11.
“Toyota intends to gradually resume its manufacturing operations in compliance with federal health and safety guidelines, and local and state ordinances where our facilities are located,” the Japanese automaker said in a statement. “The health and safety of our employees and stakeholders remain a top priority, and we have implemented new protocols at all of our North American manufacturing plants to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”
Toyota suspended production in its North American plants beginning March 23.
A spokesman for Toyota Motor North America said that while some suppliers may return the week of May 4 in preparation for the Japanese automaker’s planned restart, most likely also would return the week of May 11. Toyota plans a slow ramp-up to restart and will conduct several days of retraining before building vehicles again, the spokesman said.