May 27, 2020 | 4:08 pm

Fiat Chrysler México began the gradual reopening of its two plants in Toluca and Saltillo on Wednesday, operations that were suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A spokesman for the Mexican unit of Fiat Chrysler (FCA Mexico) said Tuesday that the firm’s two plants in Toluca have begun to gradually resume operations, as did the five it has in Saltillo, he added.

We are only opening with 40% of the population of each of the facilities, it is an orderly and safe opening and with all the protocols that the Secretary of Health and (…) inmates have instructed us,

said the company spokesperson.

The automaker resumed operations in the United States on May 18.

FCA has 14,000 employees in Mexico and restarts with one of the three shifts of its factories, although they do not know when it will operate 100%. In Saltillo it makes the ProMaster van, V6 and V8 engines, and its Pick-ups, and in Toluca the Jeep Compass and Dodge Journey models, as well as stamping.

For its part, the German BMW responded to a request from . and said that it will resume the tasks of its plant in San Luis Potosí “under a gradual and planned approach, according to the regulations and sanitary measures established by the authorities in Mexico for mitigation of the COVID-19 ”.

The Japanese Nissan and Toyota announced Monday that they were preparing their gradual return to manufacturing, and thus joined Honda, which began to warm up engines since last week.

Meanwhile, US-based Ford has set May 28 as a provisional date for the gradual restart of its plant in Ciudad Hermosillo, Sonora, according to a letter to workers seen by .. Ford did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Germany’s Volkswagen and Audi are still waiting for additional authorization from the Puebla government, where they have their factories, which is home to nearly 10% of the nearly one million auto manufacturing workers in the country.

Among the measures established by the automakers for the reactivation include the placement of sanitary access filters, the use of protective material such as masks and the reduction of the volume of employees in the workplace and in the transport that takes them to the factories.

It was in mid-May when the Federal government included the auto industry among the list of essential activities that would resume gradually from the 18th of the month. As of May 26, there are 76,560 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Mexico and 8,134 deaths.