In the early stages of the COVID-19 outbreak, automakers and suppliers were concerned about supply chain disruptions—primarily with parts sourced from China and other Asian countries. Sales and production in China were down approximately 80 percent in February, and companies may not have felt the full impact of that disruption before North American production also shut down. Now, as the virus has spread to nearly every country, massive supply chain disruptions are possible from sources all around the globe. Production in China is slowly returning to normal, and North America is planning to return to production. Growing concerns over worker health and safety, and varying state government regulations regarding what constitutes “essential manufacturing” have posed significant challenges to the automotive industry. As production gradually ramps up, automakers, suppliers, and other key industry stakeholders are engaged in a coordinated effort to bring the industry back online.

The Playbook for Restarting Production

On Wednesday, April 8, 2020, CAR’s Vice President of Business Research, Kristin Dziczek, met with special guests Jim Tobin, Chief Marketing Officer and President of Magna Asia, and Aaron McCarthy, Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer for Magna International, to discuss the planning efforts Magna and others are involved in to get automotive production back online safely in North America.

Global automakers and suppliers are drawing on their experiences restarting production in other locations to write policies and procedures for relaunching their North American operations. Magna published its own Smart Start Playbook in April and was among the leaders of an effort—together with the Original Equipment Suppliers Association (OESA) and the Alliance for Automotive Innovation—to publish an industry-wide Health and Safety Resources for Suppliers in a Coronavirus Environment. A number of other firms have similarly published their restart documents:

A replay of CAR’s webinar “The Playbook for Restarting Production” is available for viewing. Please bookmark CAR’s schedule of past and future webinars to stay up-to-date on COVID-19 and other topics.

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