MILAN -- Fiat Chrysler CEO Mike Manley told employees that the carmaker would help with the production of masks during the coronavirus emergency, a union representative said Monday.
Manley said one of the group's plants in Asia would be converted to produce face masks for healthcare workers and would quickly reach a target of one million masks per month, UILM union representative Gianluca Ficco said, quoting a letter sent by the CEO to employees.
Production capacity is being installed this week and the company will start manufacturing face masks in the coming weeks with initial distribution across the United States, Canada and Mexico, the automaker said in a statement Monday afternoon.
FCA said the action is "the first of a multifaceted global program being developed by the company through applying manufacturing, supply chain and engineering expertise to support the global fight against the Coronavirus pandemic."
An FCA Canada spokesperson said that the automaker is "evaluating other facilities" to determine they, too, can produce the masks.
FCA and luxury carmaker Ferrari are also in talks with the nation's biggest ventilator manufacturer to help it boost production of the life-saving machines which are urgently needed in the coronavirus crisis, company officials said last week.
Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess wrote in a LinkedIn post this past weekend that the automaker is building production capacity for protective masks in China and helping to support Germany’s health system with thermometers, masks, disinfectants, and diagnostic devices.
Several other automakers are making plans to help produce ventilators in North America.