COLOGNE, Germany - Ford vehicles are rolling off the production lines again at facilities in Germany, Romania and Spain following a seven-week suspension of production in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
As part of a phased restart, production has begun at a low level and will gradually be ramped up over the next few months before full production is resumed. Priority will initially be given to sold customer vehicle orders from dealers.
At all facilities, Ford’s global standards on social distancing and health and safety protocols are in place to protect returning workers. Each day, employees are required to complete a wellness self-assessment process and also receive personal “care kits” which include Ford-made face masks and other hygiene items.
The Saarlouis Vehicle Assembly Operations and Cologne Assembly Operations and Engine Plant in Germany, Valencia Vehicle Assembly Operations in Spain, and Craiova Vehicle Assembly Operations and Engine Plant in Romania all resumed production on May 4. Production will restart at Valencia Engine Plant on May 18. The resumption date for Ford’s Dagenham and Bridgend Engine Plants, in the U.K., will be confirmed at a later date.
On Monday, across the facilities, everything went smoothly with great teamwork helping to ensure that a strong restart delivered the reduced volumes that had been planned.
Ahead of production resuming, Ford had contacted all employees, via various channels, outlining the return to work process and the measures implemented to ensure a safe working environment. This included sharing with employees a specially made Return to Work Safety Protocol video. Flyers offer employees further detailed information as regards the usage of PPE equipment. The plants in Cologne, Craiova and Valencia are all producing face shields for internal use.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia Armin Laschet visited Ford’s Niehl plants in Cologne to see first-hand how Ford is resuming production there. Together with Gunnar Herrmann, CEO, Ford of Germany, he inspected the final assembly of the Ford Fiesta production line.
“The top priority of our recovery is to protect the health of our workforce. We have developed and implemented a comprehensive catalogue of measures,” says Gunnar Herrmann, CEO of Ford of Germany. “We implement the strict standards of Ford in all areas of production and administration and can therefore take a big step towards a new normality of vehicle production with a clear conscience.”
North Rhine-Westphalia's Prime Minister, Armin Laschet, said: ”It is a good signal for North Rhine-Westphalia that production at Ford in Cologne starts again today. 7,500 employees are now coming back from short-time work, and they all help us to achieve a responsible normality. But that still means: be considerate and careful.”