Fiat attempt to resume some Italian production could be hindered by lockdown

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA)

A possible extension of Italy’s lockdown could frustrate an attempt by Fiat Chrysler to restart some vehicle production at three Italian plants next week, a union representative said.

Italy has prohibited travel within the country and ordered a freeze on all non-essential business-related activities, which includes the auto industry, until April 3 to deal with the spread of coronavirus.

FCA told unions earlier week that if the government gave it the go-ahead, then the automaker would be ready to restart some of its operations on April 6, Gianluca Ficco, a representative for metal workers union UILM, stated.

The concerning sites would be the assembly line for the Jeep Compass at the Melfi facility located in southern Italy, Atessa’s plant making light commercial vehicles located in central Italy and preparatory operations for the new electric 500 located in Turin’s Mirafiori factory, Ficco said.

Ficco however stated he was not aware whether the government would permit non-essential activities to resume next week and thought Rome was more likely to increase the duration of the ban.

Regardless of hopes among Italian officials that the downward trend in coronavirus fatalities nationally would remain ongoing, it appeared increasingly likely that restrictions would be soon formally extended.

On Sunday Regional Affairs Minister Francesco Boccia stated they would inevitably extend containment measures beyond April 3.

Italian media have reported that the extension could remain for another two weeks until about April 18.

A spokesman for FCA confirmed this week that for now, the plan was to restart those three facilities next week.

Ficco added that, in any case, when operations resumed the automaker would have ensure that the highest health and safety conditions are assured in all facilities.

Luxury automaker Ferrari, which, like FCA, is controlled by Exor, said on Friday it would restart its two Italian factories on April 14, provided it had supplies.

Exor said last week that temporary plant closures at companies it controls might continue.

Coronavirus has so far infected more than 932,554 people and killed more than 46,840 people worldwide. In Italy, it has killed 13,155 and infected 110,574 people.

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