COVID-19 Response - Ford and GM
During this time of crisis, both Ford and General Motors are focusing on helping their customers and the community. Both companies have closed down operations and are using facilities to manufacture respirators, ventilators and masks. In addition, both companies are offering delayed payments for existing customers and no interest or deferred payments for new customers. Below is an overview of their responses to the Covid-19 outbreak.
- Ford's executive chairman, Bill Ford, said in a statement concerning partnering with other companies to make medical equipment, “By coming together across multiple industries, we can make a real difference for people in need and for those on the front lines of this crisis.”
- Ford has pulled all national ads promoting vehicles and replaced them with ads showing how the company is responding to the coronavirus. The two new spots are titled “Built to Lend a Hand” and "Built for Right Now" and highlight Ford's 100-year history of helping during times of crisis.
- According to Matt VanDyke, director of U.S. marketing for Ford Motor Co. "It’s important to be reassuring right now and not trying to say to people Rush into your car dealership for a sales event."
- On March 13, 2020, Ford announced that almost all of its global workforce would be working remotely as of March 16th. The communication was sent via email on March 13. Excerpts of the email were shared with Business Insider.
- Business critical employees and employees working in manufacturing facilities, parts distribution centers and certain sales positions would remain on the job. Hourly workers at the General Motors factory were still at work, as were workers in China factories where the Covid-19 outbreak is improving.
- On March 17th, Ford reached an agreement with the United Autoworkers Union to operate under a "rotating partial shutdown of facilities, extensive deep cleaning of facility between shifts, and extensive plans to avoid member contact." However, on March 25th, Ford announced it would suspend production in all North American plants for two weeks.
- Ford has also suspended manufacturing operations in India, South Africa, Thailand, and Vietnam.
- Ford has restricted all domestic and foreign travel for employees.
- The company announced on March 13th that it would be delaying the launch of the Bronco SUV that was due to come out on March 20th.
- According to CEO Jim Hackett, "Our top priority is keeping our employees, customers and other stakeholders safe while doing whatever is reasonable to keep Ford running."
- Bill Ford has announced that he would be deferring his salary for at least five months and over 300 other executives will defer 20% to 50% of their salaries.
- On March 16, 2020, Ford issued a press release announcing its commitment to customers during the Covid-19 outbreak. In the press release, Ford encouraged customers impacted by the outbreak to contact the financing department to make arrangements for delayed payments. New vehicle customers also have the option of delaying their first payment for up to 90 days.
- On the same day, Ford launched an ad campaign in order to raise awareness of assistance programs being offered by the company for customers. According to Marion Harris, chief executive officer of Ford Motor Credit Company, “We want to make sure that anyone who needs assistance knows it’s available.”
Aid to People/Government
- On March 24, 2020, Ford announced that it was partnering with 3M and GE Healthcare to help manufacture respirators and ventilators. Both will be manufactured in existing Ford factories.
- With 3M, Ford will be using fans from the Ford F-150’s seats along with existing 3M components to manufacture air-purifying respirators. These respirators, which will be battery powered and offer up to 8 hours of protection, will help shield medical workers on the front line from airborne viruses.
- Ford is partnering with GE Health to manufacture a simplified version of GE's ventilator in order to increase the output.
- In addition, Ford will be making face masks for medical workers. The company announced that it would be producing 100,000 masks per week starting the week of March 26th using its giant 3-D printer.
- The Ford Motor Company Fund has directed $500,000 to non-profit organizations in Michigan that help with food distribution and provide housing for families and at-risk people. The Ford Resource and Engagement Centers in Detroit are serving as food pantry distribution centers. According to Mary Culler, president, Ford Motor Company Fund, "We are immediately targeting resources to ensure that the most vulnerable people are being cared for during this unprecedented situation."
- General Motors has an entire web page dedicated to its response to the coronavirus. The website has tabs for customers, employees and the community. According to Mary Barra, Chairman and CEO, "We are proud to stand with other American companies and our skilled employees to meet the needs of this global pandemic.
- The theme throughout GM's messaging to customers, employees, and the community is that they are ready to help however necessary as the world faces uncertain times.
- On March 17th, GM reached an agreement with the United Autoworkers Union to operate under a "rotating partial shutdown of facilities, extensive deep cleaning of facility between shifts, and extensive plans to avoid member contact." However, on March 23rd, GM announced that it would suspend production in North American plants along with Ford, Honda, and Toyota.
- GM said it "will begin a systematic orderly suspension of manufacturing operations in North America and will also suspend production until March 30 with cleaning while production is idle."
- On March 26, 2020, GM announced that it would be cutting salaries by 26%. The company plans to pay back the cut salaries by late 2020 or early 2021 with interest. GM said in a statement, "GM’s business and its balance sheet was very strong before the COVID-19 outbreak and the steps we are taking now will help ensure that we can regain our momentum as quickly as possible after this crisis is over."
- The Covid-19 web page set up by GM has a tab specifically for customers. The customer page has links for each of the model brands offered by GM including Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac. Each brand has its own website concerning the coronavirus.
- GM has altered its creative advertising messages with each model brand having a different tagline. Cadillac has the tagline “At Cadillac, we have your back.” The model's 30-second spot communicates the delayed payment options and changes to On-Star services during the crisis. Buick and GMC are using the tagline “Here to help.” The 30-second spot highlights crisis assist services and deferred payment options for new vehicle purchases. Chevrolet has a similar 30-second spot with similar messaging.
Aid to People/Government
- General Motors has partnered with Ventec Life Systems to help the company scale up the production of critical care ventilators, with the goal of manufacturing 10,000 per month. GM has also committed to making Level 1 surgical masks and producing 100,000 per day within the next few weeks.
- GM has donated $2 million to non-profit organizations throughout the United States that are addressing critical needs. GM employees can donate through the employee portal.
- GM Financial is offering delayed payments for existing customers and 84 months interest free financing for qualified new customers.