Honda, BMW and Mercedes-Benz are canceling their traditional summer factory downtime at U.S. and Canadian plants to boost vehicle inventory as sales improve thanks to easing stay-at-home guidelines.
The auto makers are eager to replenish inventory after their factories were idled for several weeks in accordance with government coronavirus rules.
Detroit 3 auto makers soon will notify the UAW of planned changes in their own production calendar. Full-size pickups, in particular, have seen falling inventories as sales remained surprisingly brisk during lockdowns.
Honda lost seven weeks of production from March 23 to May 11 as factories across North America shut down to reduce coronavirus transmission. Now it is adding production days June 27, 29 and 30 that had previously been designated as days off for plant workers, the company wrote in an email to Automotive News.
"With the auto market improving as stay-at-home orders begin to loosen nationally, Honda has seen a steady climb in customer traffic at our dealerships over the last few weeks. We are expecting a strong sales recovery this month and into the summer sales season," the company said.
"To provide our dealers with the vehicles they need, all Honda automobile, engine and transmission plants in the U.S. and Canada will run additional scheduled production on June 27 and June 29-30, which had previously been scheduled as downtime," the auto maker said.
Honda has U.S. factories in Alabama, Indiana and Ohio.
BMW said it has canceled its planned break June 29 to July 2 at its plant in Spartanburg, S.C. July 3 remains a factory holiday.
Mercedes-Benz said that it will "continue to produce during the planned summer shutdown to ensure the required production capacities of the highly demanded SUV models coming out of Alabama."
Urvaksh Karkaria contributed to this report.