Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) India has announced that the automaker will temporarily suspend production at its Ranjangaon facility near Pune, due to the Coronavirus outbreak. The company's manufacturing facility will remain shut until March 31, 2020, as the city of Pune and Maharashtra have seen a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases. FCA India will be conducting an intensive cleaning and sanitisation process including fumigation during this period in order to protect the employees. Moreover, the company has introduced thermal screening and extra buses for its employees to ensure social distancing.
FCA India also said that the company will be staffed with a small number of employees, who will be engaged in emergency services. There will be no retrenchment of the plant employees during the closure, and all personnel will be paid during this period.
FCA India becomes the second company to announce a complete shutdown at its plant after Hero MotoCorp. Meanwhile, other automakers including Tata Motors, Mahindra, Bajaj Auto, Skoda-Volkswagen, Force Motors among others have also scaled down operations at their respective facilities in and around Pune. We could hear about more plant closures over the next two weeks if the coronavirus is not contained.
The Coronavirus was declared as a pandemic by WHO earlier this month with over three lakh people affected across the globe. There has been a major increase in the number of cases in India recently with many as 332 cases confirmed at the time of writing this report. The country has also witnessed five deaths this month, as a result of the virus. To contain the situation, the Maharashtra government has announced a partial lockdown in the cities of Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur and Pimpri-Chinchwad till March 31, 2020. The central government has asked citizens to follow Janata curfew (public curfew) on March 22 for a day to further reduce the spread of coronavirus and maintain social distancing.