Ford Motor Co. is temporarily halting production at its Chicago Assembly Plant because of a supplier part shortage, the company said March 17.
The plant, which builds the Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator crossovers, is scheduled to restart output with March 18's evening shift, according to a Facebook post by the local UAW chairman. Production at the plant was suspended March 17 evening.
A nearby Lear plant in Hammond, Ind., which supplies Chicago Assembly with seats, closed earlier Tuesday when one worker tested positive for the novel coronavirus and another was presumed to have it. A Lear spokesman said the employees, one salary and one hourly, worked on the same shift and were most recently in the facility last week. They have not returned to work since visiting their doctors.
"We continue to provide real-time health and safety guidance and take comprehensive preventative steps within our operations," a Lear spokesman said. "We are working closely with local public health authorities, and extend our support and best wishes for a full recovery to our affected coworkers."
The Lear spokesman did not offer a timeframe on when the plant would reopen, but noted that the cleaning and disinfecting process would not be completed by March 18.
The temporary suspension in output is the first in the U.S. for Ford tied to the coronavirus pandemic. So far the automaker has shuttered a factory in Valencia, Spain, and ordered other plants in continental Europe to close on Thursday.
The UAW has called for Ford, General Motors Co. and Fiat Chrysler to preemptively close all U.S. manufacturing plants for two weeks to help slow the spread of the virus, although the automakers have so far resisted those calls.