It’s been two years since the coronavirus pandemic shocked the world as governments and businesses raced to control the spread of the virus. Automakers sent workers home, halted vehicle production, and shuttered plants, leading to countless headaches that continue to affect them today. The virus continues to spread in regions across the globe, but automakers aren’t as eager to halt production this time around.
At General Motors’ joint venture in Shanghai, Reuters is reporting that workers are sleeping on the factory floor in an effort to keep operations running normally. The publication learned of the arrangement from “two people familiar with the matter.” GM told the publication that the plant is operating normally; however, it wouldn’t comment on the workers’ arrangements. The venture did obtain passes to continue deliveries to the factory. GM builds Chevy, Buick, and Cadillac models at the plant.
Rising infections in China have forced regional governments to take action to slow the virus’ spread. That’s meant companies are reverting to remote work, shuttered factories, or this “closed-loop” management process that keeps workers separated from the rest of the general population. Foxconn, an Apple supplier, used a similar method to keep operations running earlier this month.
China implemented a similar closed-loop system for the Beijing Winter Olympics. However, not every company affected by the lockdowns was able to keep production running. Aptiv, a supplier for Tesla and GM’s Shanghai joint venture, halted production due to government coronavirus mandates. Tesla had to suspend production, too, though the lockdowns haven’t affected VW Group’s operations in the region yet.
It’s been two years since the pandemic started, and it continues to affect automakers. Supply chain issues have ballooned, with semiconductor shortages forcing automakers to deliver cars with fewer features or store them until the necessary parts arrive. The virus’ spread will continue to inject more instability into the manufacturing process, but automakers are trying to prevent it from further damaging already constrained production pipelines. Automakers will continue to face shortages for the foreseeable future no matter where their workers sleep.