This past spring, the automotive industry was put on hold as part of global efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus. When operations resumed in May, large-scale safety measures were adopted by manufacturers so that production could move forward while protecting workers and preventing outbreaks.
However, the last few weeks have ratcheted up anxiety levels, as voiced by Mark Reuss, President of General Motors. In the last six days alone, one million people in the U.S. have tested positive for Covid-19, and in many places around the world, the situation is dire.
All of this led Mark Reuss discuss his concerns in an interview with Reuters. He told the news agancy last Friday that GM and its suppliers must not let their guard down as cases of Covid-19 continue to rise, adding that he worries constantly about the human suffering and economic hardship caused by the pandemic.
“I just worry about everybody, I really do. I worry about that every day and every night. I'm so worried about it because it's accelerating and it's not being contained.”
- GM President Mark Reuss
He then talked about the work that has been done.
He added that he believes “the industry in general and General Motors has done a good job in our plants”, but that he worries “about people, the death, the suffering and the unemployment that goes along with this pandemic.”
Reuss praised GM suppliers for their diligence in meeting the new standards established during the pandemic to ensure that the pandemic did not affect production. But he acknowledged his biggest worry:
“But I worry that in places that are very different from the United States, Canada or Mexico, that a relaxation of some of these (standards) would hurt the supply chain and have us not be able to run our plants. I know everybody is doing the best they can but we have to keep that up.”
- Mark Reuss
Mark Reuss's appeal is a timely one, because while it may appear as if the production machine is up and running for good in the automotive sector, the reality s it’s just an outbreak or two from having to slow down again, if not stop altogether. And it goes without saying that the consequences of another production stoppage would be devastating.