TURIN – The Italian automotive industry is bracing for potential fallout from a nationwide lockdown to stop the spread of the coronavirus that has killed nearly 500 people in the country.
Italy’s prime minister has called the outbreak the country’s “darkest hour,” inviting comparisons to the U.K. during World War II. The effects, both psychological and economic, could be devastating as the government struggles to contain the damage.
“We need to change our habits right now,” Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said at an unscheduled news conference Monday evening. He ordered the of nation of more than 60 million people to “stay at home” as he explained that “we are forced to impose sacrifices.”
Despite the dire warnings automakers and suppliers continued to operate on Tuesday.
“So far there is no change in the measures we have taken,” a Fiat Chrysler Automobiles spokesman told Automotive News Europe. “We are evaluating whether further measures will be necessary.”