Fiat Chrysler is cutting car production and temporarily closing four plants across Italy as the coronavirus takes its toll on the world's eighth biggest economy.
The move follows a decision by the Italian government to impose sweeping restrictions on travel and public gatherings as it tries to contain the worst outbreak of coronavirus, or Covid 19, outside China.
The Italian-American automaker said in a statement Wednesday that plants will be closed and production rates reduced "to support the nationwide campaign addressing the Covid-19 crisis."
A spokesperson for the company said the plants affected will be closed for the rest of the week to "minimize the risk" of contagion among employees. The plants are expected to reopen on March 16.
To limit contact among workers, the company said it will increase space between employees at their workstations. This will require a change to manufacturing processes and lead to lower daily production rates.
Other measures to contain the spread of the virus include enabling some employees to work from home and controlling numbers at company cafeterias.
Italy on Monday imposed widespread restrictions on travel and public life across the country, including closing schools, movie theaters, museums and gyms, and limiting opening hours for bars, restaurants and shops.
Economists say the measures are likely to push the country's already fragile economy into a sharp downturn that will put Italian hotels, travel companies and restaurants under intense pressure.
— Eoin McSweeney contributed reporting.