DETROIT — The two largest U.S. automakers on Thursday announced measures to shore up their finances as the coronavirus pandemic takes a deep economic bite, with Ford aiming to resume production next month of its most profitable vehicles while cutting costs further.
General Motors, the No. 1 U.S. automaker, said it planned to keep its plants closed indefinitely and was reducing the pay of salaried employees and executives and suspending some future product programs to conserve cash.
GM’s chief executive and chief financial officer issued a stark warning to company employees in an internal video, saying that “significant austerity measures” were needed to preserve the company’s long-term viability.
To generate cash, Ford said it was poised to restart production at some plants in North America as early as April 6, bringing back such profitable vehicles as its top-selling F-150 full-sized pickup, the Transit commercial van and SUVs. The plants that produce those vehicles are located in the U.S. states of Michigan and Kentucky and in Mexico.
To save cash, Ford said it was temporarily cutting hundreds of executives’ salaries, among other actions. This came a day after Standard & Poor’s downgraded the Dearborn, Michigan-based company’s debt to “junk” status