MILAN -- Fiat's production restart in Italy has been delayed until Monday, May 4 after the Italian government extended a nationwide lockdown to contain the coronavirus.
Fiat had been ready to restart assembly lines at the Melfi, Mirafiori and Atessa plants on April 14 before the government extended its COVID-19 restrictions to Sunday, May 3.
Fiat will comply with the new government restrictions, a spokesman told Automotive News Europe.
Ferrari has also extended the suspension of manufacturing activities at its plants in Maranello and Modena, Italy, until May 4.
Fiat could, however, resume output earlier than May 3. According to the Italian financial daily Il Sole 24 Ore, the government is considering a possible early exit from lockdown for some manufacturing sectors, including automotive. The government could approve the move in a few days, the paper said.
Last week Fiat reached a deal with unions over measures to adopt in its Italian plants once the government eases restrictions on business activity. The measures include sanitizing premises, taking workers' temperatures, providing safety devices such as face masks and hand gel, rearranging assembly layouts and staggering shifts.
Fiat's production resumption will be gradual. The company aims to first restart production of the Jeep Compass in Melfi and the new electric 500 minicar in Turin's Mirafiori, along with light van output at its Sevel plant in Atessa.
Italy, the epicenter of the virus pandemic in Europe, imposed a nationwide lockdown on March 9. Two weeks later all non-essential businesses including car, clothing and furniture manufacturing were ordered to close.
Fiat's plant in Tychy, Poland, has halted production until April 24 at the earliest and its factory in Kragujevac, Serbia, is closed this week, the company said.
Fiat is also extending a production stop in Turkey. Output at its Tofas joint venture plant in Bursa will be halted until April 20 due to "disruptions in international supply chain," the company said in a statement filed with Istanbul bourse's Public Disclosure Platform. Tofas builds the Fiat Tipo compact car and the Fiorino and Doblo LCVs, using engines and components from Fiat's European plants.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles plans to progressively restart production at U.S. and Canadian facilities beginning May 4, the company said last week.