Fiat halts Italian plants, VW’s Seat sends staff home

BARCELONA/MILAN: Fiat Chrysler said it was temporarily halting operations at some of its Italian factories in Italy and would reduce production in response to Europe’s largest coronavirus outbreak.
The carmaker said it had stepped up measures across its facilities, including intensive sanitisation of all work and rest areas, to support the government’s directives to curb the spread of the infectious disease.
The actions comes as Seat, the Spanish unit of German carmaker Volkswagen, considers sending staff home temporarily from its Barcelona-area plant due to supply chain issues, a spokesman said on Wednesday, a further sign of how the coronavirus could disrupt Europe’s struggling car market.
“The Martorell plant is currently working normally. However, there are several risks derived from COVID-19, which has affected the supply chain,” the Seat spokesman said. The VW unit would make temporary layoffs if it had to cut production due to supply issues, he added.
Seat union representative Matias Carnero said the company’s supply chain was being affected by the worsening coronavirus outbreak, which has hit China and Italy particularly hard.
“It all looks like it is going to be requested,” said Carnero, a representative for UGT, the main labour union at Seat, referring to the potential layoffs. — Reuters