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Fiat Chrysler CEO says coronavirus could force plant closure in Europe

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV CEO Mike Manley warned that it could be forced to close one of its European plants due to parts shortages in China, the Financial Times (London) reported Feb. 6.

Four of FCA's Chinese suppliers are affected by the coronavirus outbreak, with one high-risk supplier that could force plant closure.

Manley said the Italian-American carmaker will know whether or not it can continue operations at the affected plant within two to four weeks, but did not specify which of its 24 European facilities would be forced to close.

The remaining three suppliers would also hit "critical" conditions if the Chinese government extended the mandatory closures through the end of February, Manley added.

Though FCA has assigned a team to monitor its supply chains and seek alternative sources, any new components suppliers would still have to be certified and registered.

Fiat Chrysler would be the first European carmaker that would see production halted by the coronavirus outbreak, which originated in Wuhan, China.

South Korean carmakers Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp. partially stopped domestic production over similar supplier issues.

Other carmakers are bracing for decreased sales, production losses and delivery delays due to the outbreak. Tesla Inc. was forced to delay deliveries in China, while General Motors Co. said it expects sales to decrease because of the virus.

On Feb. 5, S&P Global Ratings said the coronavirus outbreak will likely halve China's auto production.