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US & Europe Business News | Autos: Fiat Chrysler to restart US production in two weeks after coronavirus shutdowns lead to $1.8 billion quarterly loss

Michael Wayland




Jeep Renegade at Melfi plant
A Jeep Renegade rolls down an assembly line at Fiat Chrysler’s Melfi assembly plant in Italy in 2015.
Michael Wayland / CNBC

Fiat Chrysler lost about $1.8 billion (1.7 billion euro) in the first quarter as the coronavirus pandemic caused rolling shutdowns of its plants in China, Europe and North America.
Despite the “unexpected and unprecedented times” due to Covid-19, the company, said Tuesday it and French automaker PSA Group “remain committed” to a previously announced merger of equals. The deal, according to Fiat Chrysler, is expected to close by the end of this year or early 2021.
The automaker also said it expects to restart the majority of its North American plants the week of May 18. The company as well as General Motors and Ford Motor have been in discussions with the United Auto Workers union for weeks to reopen U.S. plants, which shuttered in March. The UAW did not immediately respond for comment.
Revenue during the first three months of the year fell 16% to about $22.3 billion (20.6 billion euro) while global vehicle shipments plummeted 21%. Before taxes and one-time adjustments and charges, the company reported a profit of about $56.4 million (52 million euro) for the quarter.
Fiat Chrysler burned through about $5.5 billion (5.1 billion euro) in cash during the first three months of the year as the coronavirus pandemic first shuttered its operations in China, followed by Europe and then North America. The company’s plants in China have reopened. It continues to restart operations in Europe and elsewhere.
The company said it had about $20.2 billion (18.6 billion euro) in available liquidity at the end of the first quarter. It also set up a roughly $3.8 billion (3.5 billion euro) emergency credit facility last month. The automaker said it may need to tap into additional credit facilities.
“We continue to assess all funding options and expect to access funding as and when available on reasonable terms to further strengthen our balance sheet and enhance our liquidity to optimize our financial flexibility,” the company said

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