Trucks & SUVs

COVID-19 Could Shut Down Ram Truck Production

In recent weeks the incidence of COVID-19 has been spiking in Michigan. Now that alarming development is washing over the Ram pickup truck plant in Sterling Heights. An estimated 10% of production workers have not shown up at the plant due to COVID-19-related issues. That amounts to over 630 assembly workers. 

Over 630 Ram truck workers were absent due to COVID-19 issues

Ram truck assembly worker
John Hamilton installs a door on a Ram as it goes through the assembly line | Getty

That is how many were absent from the plant due to either testing positive or were in quarantine according to Automotive News. It goes on to say that figure represents 200 more workers as were gone last week. It is costing between 200-300 trucks behind this week alone. And the Ram pickups are one of the most profitable vehicles Stellantis sells. 

While many states are seeing significant reductions in COVID cases partly due to the vaccines becoming available to almost all Americans Michigan has not been so lucky. Stellantis established health and safety protocols early last year as the pandemic started spreading. Stellantis says it has maintained those safeguards.

Some Ram workers are still hesitant to work in assembly plants

Warren Ram truck plant
Ram truck assembly plant in Detroit, Michigan | Getty

RELATED: Stellantis Promotes 84 Hour Weeks to Increase Ram 1500 Production

The instituted protocols include daily cleaning, temperature checks, staggered start times, and mandatory masks and safety glasses. Even with these safeguards in place, some workers are hesitant to work in assembly plants. Partly because of this, absenteeism has been a problem for over a year as the pandemic continues to affect millions of people. 

“As COVID cases are increasing in communities across Michigan, we also have had employees test positive,” from a Stellantis statement. “We also continue to strongly encourage our employees to follow the same health and safety measures whenever they are out and about. Additionally, we have been strongly advocating that our employees get vaccinated and have been facilitating vaccine administration for our employees in the Metro Detroit area.”

Stellantis has idled half of its 10 plants due to microchip shortages

Ram truck plant assembly
A Ram pickup goes through the assembly line | Getty

Stellantis has already had to idle half of its 10 plants in the US due to microchip shortages. Plants building less-profitable models have been idled to keep Ram pickup production at full capacity. One of those plants which are trying to ramp up production of the Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer has been down for two weeks so far. 

The pandemic is affecting all assembly plants in the US, not just Stellantis plants. Last March all of the assembly plants in the Detroit area were shut down for two months. There were walkouts nationwide as workers feared they would contract the infection. In May the plants reopened after the safety protocols were instituted. 

Temporary labor can be tapped to fill in for these current worker shortages but it does slow down production. Some of the workers from other idled plants in Michigan are temporarily replacing absent employees as well. Demand is high so with supplies being jeopardized will we be seeing price increases? It definitely makes