Ford Lobbying to Begin Manufacturing Again

The automotive industry is struggling. With people staying home, they’re driving less, and relatively few people are driving to dealerships to shop for new cars or even for service appointments. Meanwhile, risks to workers at manufacturing plants led many U.S. manufacturers to shut down operations entirely at many plants across the country — they weren’t building and people weren’t buying.

This situation is not sustainable for American automotive manufacturers. They need to communicate a plan to get back up and running as soon as safely possible. The first step in that process came recently when Ford Motor Company offered plans for the safety measure the company will put in place in an effort to restart operations at some of its most profitable U.S. plants.

Members of the business world media are describing these plans as expansions on previous plans put out by General Motors and Fiat Chrysler, hoping to use the “expanded” plans to convince United Auto Workers members to come back to work. So far, though, there’s been no word from the UAW as to how their membership views the plans, other than an emphatic refusal to get back to work in early May.

This is a major economic hurdle for automakers, because they need Michigan workers’ buy-in to get back to work in earnest. That means this economic hurdle is a serious communications challenge. Speaking to reporters, Ford COO Jim Farley said the first part of the plan is all about “getting clarity” from government leaders. “We’re ready!” Farley said.

That need for “clarity” telegraphs another major hurdle for Ford and its competitor auto manufacturers. The companies still have to convince Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer that it’s safe for residents of her state to get back to work. Even if Ford, GM, and Chrysler can convince UAW members, they still need the green light from Whitmer, and the governor has taken a very strong stance on social distancing as the solution to slowing the spread of COVID-19.

To emphasize how strongly he feels about his company’s readiness to get people back to work, Farley told reporters he would be “absolutely comfortable” having his family work in a Ford plant “given the safety steps” the company now has in place.

So far, while UAW is at the table with the automakers, no deal has been reached and no hopeful start date has been announced. The union has concerns about PPE and about how the equipment will operate, as well as the speed of the workflow and testing protocols. In response, Ford has said the company will not have a “reliable and scalable testing solution” in place for some time, which is proving to be a sticking point.

From a communication standpoint, Ford needs to deliver its plan clearly and convincingly, then invite all stakeholders to express concerns with equal clarity, so all sides understand exactly what’s expected and being discussed. Any ambiguity could scuttle plans at any stage of negotiation.

Ronn Torossian is the CEO and Founder of 5W Public Relations. 5W PR is a leading digital pr and influencer marketing agency.




Ronn Torossian is Chairman & Founder of 5WPR & one of America’s most notable PR executives. He is the Author of best-selling PR book, “For Immediate Release.“

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

The 6 Fintech Trends expected in 2021 and Later

Investment Raised

Antoine Elie of Kidiliz Group USA: The Future Of Retail In The Post Pandemic World

Garrett Camp: The co-founder of Uber

The Contractors Guide to New Revenue Recognition

How B Corps Are Addressing the Climate Crisis

What is a PEO and why you need one when building a team & managing employee benefits in the US

QFORA Business Market Trends

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is Chairman & Founder of 5WPR & one of America’s most notable PR executives. He is the Author of best-selling PR book, “For Immediate Release.“

More from Medium

It is time you should set out to find the meaning of Life

To infinity and beyond? — MMM #6

Veganism in a Tub: the Plant-based Serenity of Nut Butters

How to enjoy walking | Exp #002