Ford has temporarily suspended production at its manufacturing sites in Brazil – Camacari (BA), Taubate (SP) and Troller's plant in Horizonte (Ceara) – and at the Pacheco plant in Argentina, in response to the growing impact of the coronavirus in South America.

Effective from today (23 March) in Brazil and 25 March in Argentina, this action, Ford said "aims specially to keep employees safe and help limit the spread of the virus, as well to adjust the production volumes to the lower consumer demand due to this unprecedented situation".

Since the beginning of the outbreak, Ford has taken all possible measures to minimise the impact of coronavirus, including asking all employees to work remotely unless they are performing a business-critical job that requires being onsite, limiting visitors to the plants, and increasing the frequency of cleaning at the company's facilities, among others.

"Ford's top priority is always the safety and well-being of our employees and partners. This action will additionally help reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus while maximising the health of our business during this challenging time for the entire economy," said Lyle Watters, president, Ford South America.

In Brazil, the plants are scheduled to restart on 13 April and Argentina operations from 6 April.

"In these unprecedented times, it is more important than ever to put our people first," added Watters. "We will continue working closely with our unions and other local partners to explore additional protocols and procedures to help prevent the virus dissemination and define new, work practices for our plant restart plans, based on what we've learned."