Coronavirus outbreak threatens auto industry

Fiat Chrysler warned that the coronavirus outbreak may force one of its European plants to close.

The company says that could happen within weeks.

It says its struggling to source crucial car parts because the Chinese factories that supply them have shut down over the virus.

Many extended their Lunar New Year's closures over the outbreak but some have pushed the shutdowns out even further.

The impact of the epidemic means the next few weeks will be critical for automakers.

Parts made in China are used in millions of vehicles assembled around the globe.

And Hubei province the epicenter of the outbreak is a major hub for parts production and shipments.

If plants remain idle heading into March analysts at IHS Markit predict losses will add up to 1.7 million vehicles gone unmade during Q1.

Fiat Chrysler didn't say which of its cars were at risk.

But other big names have sent up red flags.

Hyundai says the parts shortage could force it to suspend production in South Korea.

Toyota says its looking at alternative sources of key parts.

And GM says it has teams working around the clock to head off trouble.

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