Ford, GM confirm N. American factory shutdowns due to virus

1. Detroit
DETROIT - NOVEMBER 21: The General Motors (GM) world headquarters building stands tallest amidst the Renaissance Center in the skyline of city's downtown on November 21, 2008 in Detroit, Michigan. As car and truck sales have plummeted across the country, large inventories are building at dealerships and factories. The Big Three U.S. automakers, General Motors (GM), Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC, failed after appearing this week in Washington to receive money after asking the government for federal funds to curb the decline of the American auto industry. The city of Detroit, home to the Big Three, would be hardest hit if the government allows these auto makers to fall into bankruptcy. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Detroit — Detroit’s three automakers have agreed to close all North American factories due to worker fears about the coronavirus, two people briefed on the matter said Wednesday.

Ford and General Motors confirmed in statements Wednesday that all North American factories will close temporarily. Ford said its plants will shut down after Thursday evening shifts, through March 30, while GM said it will begin a “systematic orderly suspension” of production through at least March 30.

Operations will be evaluated weekly after that. Messages were left seeking comment from Fiat Chrysler.

The people speaking about the closures didn’t want to be identified because formal announcements had not yet been made.