European suppliers are starting to halt production, as demand from automakers slows due to factory closings linked to the coronavirus outbreak.
Earlier this week, most major suppliers said they were keeping their plants open, but staying in close contact with their customers and taking extra health measures.
On Wednesday afternoon, however, both Robert Bosch and Continental, Europe's two largest suppliers, said part or all of their own production would be stopped temporarily in response to lowered demand, supply chain bottlenecks and to protect the safety of their employees.
Bosch, based in Stuttgart, Germany, said it would be suspending work or reducing production at its factories in France, Italy and Spain.
Continental, based in Hanover, Germany, said it would stop production at its factories, without giving details about when and where that would happen.
Plastic Omnium, which makes body panels and fuel systems, has also said it would halt production temporarily. Tire makers Pirelli and Michelin have also stopped production at some factories, as has Brembo, the Italian brake producer.
Some suppliers could continue to produce components on a limited basis for markets that are not yet hobbled by restrictions on movement or commerce. And auto production in China appears to be starting up again.
The virus has also led some suppliers to delay their annual shareholder meetings. Bearings maker Schaeffler said Wednesday that its annual gathering in Nuremberg, scheduled for April 17, would be postponed to a future date. Continental has postponed its shareholders' meeting, originally set for April 30.
Tier 2 and smaller suppliers are also stopping work. Actia, a French supplier with 3,800 workers that makes automotive and telecommunications circuit boards, said it would halt work at a site near Toulouse that makes 1 million boards a year.
MTA, an Italian supplier based in Codogno, the center of the coronavirus outbreak in Italy, was one of the first companies to sound the alarm about the effect of the epidemic on the automotive supply chain.
The virus also took a personal toll on MTA with the death of Umberto Falchetti, the 86-year-old son of the company's founder and its longtime chairman.