COVID-19's impact on Detroit’s Big 3 automakers

Covid-19 Businesses Blue.png
Posted at 5:48 PM, Sep 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-01 17:48:12-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Ford is making news by cutting 1,000 salaried employees. One analyst suggests it is because managers can see who’s getting work done at home and who isn’t. And they found jobs they didn’t need.

But at the same time, Ford is in the middle of a two-year cost-cutting program and is expected to be in the red this year.

Michelle Krebs is an auto analyst with and says with COVID-19 the auto industry is going through change.

“It’s a slow recovery. It’s a fragile recovery,” she says.

The showrooms of carmakers remain busy. Help from Congress for the Detroit Big 3 earlier this year has been put on hold with a focus helping people who are out of work and businesses staying open.

Detroit automakers have borrowed billions, learning from the 2008 recession. And they’re trying to keep up with demand on certain cars and trucks.

“It’s been stunning that the consumer is so resilient and dealers have been proven to be very resilient and resourceful on figuring out ways to get vehicles to customers,” Krebs said.

Auto production has continued with COVID protections with one major exception. Last week a GM plant in Wentzville, Missouri which makes a popular midsize pickup had so many COVID cases and workers out that salaried workers did jobs on the assembly line.

In Detroit, the first new auto plant in decades is set to open during the first quarter of next year and bring 5,000 new jobs to the city.