Fiat Chrysler halts output at most European plants
Fiat Chrysler is halting production through March 27 at the majority of its plants in Europe following the coronavirus crisis which is disrupting the economy.
FCA said production for its Fiat and Maserati units would stop in the next two weeks at the Italian plants of Melfi, Pomigliano, Cassino, Mirafiori, Grugliasco and Modena.
FCA’s factories in Kragujevac, Serbia, and Tychy, Poland, will also close, the automaker said.
“The temporary suspension enables the group to effectively respond to the interruption in market demand by ensuring the optimization of supply,” FCA said in a statement.
The company said the freeze would help it to resume activity promptly once market conditions allow it.
“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,” FCA said.
FCA’s Italian factories account for over 65 percent of the automaker’s European production and 18 percent of its global production, according to Jefferies autos analyst Philippe Houchois. The plants have stopped on a mix of component and staff shortage, Houchois said in a note to investors.
FCA’s move follows a similar decision by Ferrari which on Saturday said it was closing its two plants in Italy until March 27 in response to the virus crisis, citing an emerging shortage of parts.
Italy has been the European country worst hit by coronavirus and the first to enforce a nationwide lockdown which has now been replicated by Spain and, to a lesser extent, by France as the pandemic sweeps through the continent.
Italy has closed down schools, shops, restaurants and banned all non-essential travel, while allowing companies to continue to operate provided they comply with strict safety measures.
However, a growing number of manufacturers are opting to suspend production.
Premium brakes maker Brembo, whose clients include Ferrari, said on Friday it would temporarily close its four Italian plants this week.
Lamborghini has closed its only plant near Bologna until March 25.