COVID-19

Ford records $2 billion first-quarter loss from shutdown

Jack Stewart Apr 29, 2020
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A Ford plant in Michigan. The company plans to restart manufacturing in Europe next week. Bill Pugliano/Getty Images
COVID-19

Ford records $2 billion first-quarter loss from shutdown

Jack Stewart Apr 29, 2020
A Ford plant in Michigan. The company plans to restart manufacturing in Europe next week. Bill Pugliano/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
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Ford lost $2 billion in the first quarter of 2020, the vehicle-maker reported after the markets closed Tuesday. And it expects to lose $5 billion in the second quarter as it deals with shutdowns due to COVID-19.

Like the rest of the automotive industry, Ford is dealing with shuttered production lines and slumping sales. Ford CEO Jim Hackett told investors that pulling the emergency brake on the global economy was impossible to anticipate.

“We didn’t realize there was an off switch,” Hackett said. “We knew it might go into a recession, more like a dimmer switch. But off?”

Since mid-March, Ford has had to shift its focus from building profit-making pickups to making face shields, ambulances and respirators. 

One brighter spot for the company is that there is still demand for its bestselling F-150 truck, and dealers have been able to sell from their inventory, according to Jessica Caldwell, executive director of insights at Edmunds.

“A lot of people who need trucks, they need trucks regardless of pandemic or not,” Caldwell said.

Ford is going to start gradually bringing its European plants back online next week, with new safety procedures for workers. The company said that could provide a template for restarting in the U.S. 

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

Are states ready to roll out COVID-19 vaccines?

Claire Hannan, executive director of the nonprofit Association of Immunization Managers, which represents state health officials, said states have been making good progress in their preparations. And we could have several vaccines pretty soon. But states still need more funding, she said. Hannan doesn’t think a lack of additional funding would hold up distribution initially, but it could cause problems down the road. “It’s really worrisome that Congress may not pass funding or that there’s information circulating saying that states don’t need additional funding,” she said.

How is the service industry dealing with the return of coronavirus restrictions?

Without another round of something like the Paycheck Protection Program, which kept a lot of businesses afloat during the pandemic’s early stages, the outlook is bleak for places like restaurants. Some in the San Francisco Bay Area, for example, only got one week of indoor dining back before cases rose and restrictions went back into effect. Restaurant owners are revamping their business models in an effort to survive while waiting to see if they’ll be able to get more aid.

How are hospitals handling the nationwide surge in COVID-19 cases?

As the pandemic surges and more medical professionals themselves are coming down with COVID, nearly 1 in 5 hospitals in the country report having a critical shortage of staff, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services. One of the knock-on effects of staff shortages is that people who have other medical needs are being asked to wait.

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