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Highlights

Production at North American assembly plants to ramp up June 1

North American automotive largely halted since mid-March amid coronavirus pandemic

Pittsburgh — General Motors said it plans to ramp up its automotive assembly production in the US and Canada beginning June 1, as the recent restart of the company's component and assembly plants has gone smoothly.

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Beginning June 1, three of the company's crossover assembly plants in the US and Canada will be operating two production shifts, and three US assembly plants building mid- and full-size pickups will move from one- to three-shift operations, the company said in a statement Thursday. Five other US assembly plants will operate one production shift, GM said.

The Big Three US automakers -- GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles -- halted North American automotive production in mid-March as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Ford in early May announced it was targeting a phased restart of its North American operations beginning May 18, including the restart vehicle production in North America. On May 26 the company said it was temporarily suspending production at its Kansas City assembly plant to deep clean the facility following a positive COVID-19 case.

"Working closely with the UAW and external experts in infectious disease and epidemiology, we have developed safety standards to protect our workforce," Ford said in a statement. "In this instance, our protocol calls for us to deep clean and disinfect the employees' work area, equipment, team area and the path that the employee took while at the plant today. We are temporarily pausing production at Kansas City Assembly Plant – on the Transit side – until the deep cleaning is completed. We are notifying people known to have been in close contact with the infected individual and asking them to self-quarantine for 14 days."

Fiat Chrysler also resumed production May 18 at its plants in Michigan and Ohio, with Canadian production beginning May 19. Work at the company's automobile assembly plants in Mexico was scheduled to resume May 25.

The abrupt stoppage of US automotive production, combined with the crash in oil prices, has continued to pressure US steel pricing since Mid-March.

US hot-rolled coil prices have fallen $96/st from $591/st on March 17 to $495/st as of May 28, according to S&P Global Platts pricing data.