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Ford's Chicago Plant Shut Temporarily Over Coronavirus Scare

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Ford Motor Company (F - Free Report) has temporarily halted production at its Chicago assembly plant due to shortage of parts. The plant will be idled for at least two shifts.

The latest closure is related to the COVID-19 cases that halted work at Lear Corporation’s (LEA - Free Report) plant in Hammond, which supplies seats for the Ford Explorer sport utility vehicle and other vehicles manufactured at Ford’s Chicago Plant.

Further, Ford has temporarily suspended vehicle and engine production at its manufacturing sites in continental Europe to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The production halt in Europe will be effective Mar 19, and will likely last till normalcy resumes.

Ford currently carries a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell).

You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 (Strong Buy) Rank stocks here.

Moreover, the United Auto Workers (UAW) union has requested Ford, General Motors (GM - Free Report) and Fiat Chrysler (FCAU - Free Report) to shut down their U.S. factories for two weeks, in order to safeguard its members, families and communities.

All three automakers plan to change the manufacturing processes and cut production levels in their plants to support the nation-wide campaign addressing the COVID-19 crisis. The companies have implemented more stringent cleaning regimens, imposed restrictions on access to the plants and taken other steps to keep workplaces safe for employees. Other measures to contain the spread of the virus include enabling some employees to work from home and controlling numbers at company cafeterias.

Nevertheless, if the UAW is dissatisfied with the automakers' proposed steps, it might take action on its own to protect the factory workers.

Meanwhile, General Motors and Ford are providing new vehicle financing programs to increase demand during such uncertain times, which is denting consumer confidence and slowing dealer-showroom traffic.

General Motors, through its GM Financial arm, is offering 0% financing for seven years –– two years more than recent programs and four months deferred payments for those with A+ credit. Ford, through its financing division, has announced a program giving customers who buy new vehicles the option to delay their first payment for 90 days.

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