April 3, 2020 / 10:56 AM / in 2 months

Ford to keep Europe manufacturing ops offline at least until May 4

FILE PHOTO: The corporate logo of Ford is seen at Brussels Motor Show, Belgium January 9, 2020. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

(Reuters) - Ford Motor Co (F.N) on Friday extended the temporary suspension of vehicle and engine production at most of its European manufacturing sites at least until May 4.

The company’s shares fell more than 2% to $4.25 in the New York stock exchange.

The automaker said last month that the suspension would last for a "number of weeks" depending on the intensity of the COVID-19 pandemic. (ford.to/2JDme8l)

“Ford’s production restart plans depend heavily on the pandemic situation in the weeks ahead, national restrictions in operation at the time, supplier constraints and the ability of our dealer network to operate,” the company said in a statement.

The No. 2 U.S. automaker on Thursday posted a 12.5% fall in U.S. auto sales for the first quarter.

The company’s U.S. sales chief has said that once the crisis eases, some level of government stimulus will be needed to support car buyers in the face of an unprecedented decline in sales and rising claims for unemployment benefits.

Reporting by Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel and Devika Syamnath

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