Fiat Chrysler ends production at most European plants


A Jeep Renegade rolls down an assembly line at Fiat Chrysler’s Melfi assembly plant in Italy in 2015.

Michael Wayland / CNBC

Fiat Chrysler is ending production at the majority of its European plants through March 27 due to the coronavirus, the company said Monday.

The plans come less than a week after the Italian-American automaker announced it would “intensify measures” against the spread of the coronavirus in Italy, including temporarily closing plants there, where the government has implemented a national quarantine amid a rapid spread of COVID-19.

The temporary shutdowns include plants in Italy, Serbia and Poland. It’s unclear at this time how many of the company’s 23 plants will remain open. A company spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

Fiat Chrysler, in a release, said its plans include measures to enable the company to “promptly” restart manufacturing operations once ready.

“The group is working with its supply base and business partners to be ready to enable our manufacturing operations to deliver previously planned total levels of production despite the suspension when market demand returns,” the company said.

The European shutdowns come as the automaker and others attempt to contain the spread of the virus in the U.S., while continuing to ramp-up production in China, where COVID-19 originated. 

Fiat Chrysler is the only automaker to confirm a U.S. employee tested positive for COVID-19. It also had workers at one plant in Canada refuse to work due to fears an employee had contracted the disease.

The automaker is part of a new task force with the General Motors, Ford Motor and the United Auto Workers that was announced Sunday afternoon to combat the spread of the disease to factory workers.

UAW President Rory Gamble, GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra, Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford and President and CEO Jim Hackett, and Fiat Chrysler CEO Michael Manley are leading the task force, which will “implement enhanced protections for manufacturing and warehouse employees at all three companies.”

Each of the Detroit automakers last week announced work-at-home policies due to the coronavirus for salaried employees in North America.

Source : CNBC