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General Motors to open Mexican factory Wednesday

Ford and Fiat Chrysler are ready to open their Mexican plants, pending government approval, officials said.

General Motors is planning to restart its factory in Silao, Mexico, where it assembles the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra trucks. (Photo: GM)

General Motors’ assembly plant in Silao, Mexico, will resume operations Wednesday, following its COVID-19 shutdown more than six weeks ago.

According to Reuters, GM received approval from the Mexican government to restart the Silao plant, where it assembles Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups, two of its fastest-selling vehicles. 

“We are now beginning a new phase given the Mexican government’s official announcement earlier this week to consider the transportation manufacturing industry as essential for the country’s economy,” Francisco Garza, president of General Motors de Mexico, wrote in an email to suppliers on Friday.

GM employs around 19,000 people in Mexico. GM’s Mexican factory in San Luis Potosí, makes the Chevrolet Trax, Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain, while its Ramos Arizpe facility makes the Chevrolet Blazer and Chevrolet Sonic.

GM officials have not said if the factories in San Luis Potosí and Ramos Arizpe would also be opening on Wednesday.

Last week, the Mexican government confused many in the auto sector with conflicting messages about when companies could resume operations. Officials originally said factories could reopen May 18 then a day later said the date would be June 1.

On Friday, the government announced a third plan, saying companies could submit their safety protocol plans on May 18 and resume manufacturing as soon as those plans are approved.

Ford, Chrysler Fiat, Toyota and other carmakers in Mexico have announced they would resume production as soon as their Mexican factories were approved to reopen.

In a sign of how complicated auto supply chains can be, Mercedes-Benz said on Monday it would suspend operations at its plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, due to lack of parts from Mexican factories.

“Due to respective country-specific regulations and their impact on international supplier sites, we expect a temporary interruption,” Daimler AG, Mercedes-Benz’s parent company, said in a statement. Company officials said the factory could resume operations by June 29.

Noi Mahoney

Noi Mahoney is a Texas-based journalist who covers cross-border trade, logistics and supply chains for FreightWaves. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in English in 1998. Mahoney has more than 20 years experience as a journalist, working for newspapers in Florida, Maryland and Texas. Contact [email protected]