Renault earlier on Monday closed factories at Palencia and Valladolid, Spain, for several days due to supply shortages. Credit: File photo.

The coronavirus outbreak has forced French automaker to take action to protect its employees, shutting down its industrial sites in France “until further notice,” Peter Sigal of Auto News Europe reported.

The automaker said it was suspending production to protect its employees “in compliance with the measures taken by the French government.”

Renault said 12 sites and 18,000 employees would be affected, the report said.

The situation at other plants in Europe would depend on conditions in each country, the automaker said.

Renault Group, with 1.65 million sales in 2019, is the third-biggest automaker in Europe, following Volkswagen Group and PSA Group, the report said.

Earlier, PSA Group said it was closing all factories in Europe, joining other automakers including Fiat Chrysler Automobiles that have announced full or partial shutdowns, the report said.

Renault earlier on Monday closed factories at Palencia and Valladolid, Spain, for several days due to supply shortages.

The plant at Flins, near Paris, which makes the Renault Zoe electric car, was also closed for what Renault said were unrelated supply reasons. 

Renault Group also has factories in Slovenia and in Romania where it builds Dacia cars. Factories in Turkey and Morocco also supply Europe, the report said.

Renault’s announcement came ahead of an expected speech by President Emmanuel Macron of France on Monday evening, in which he is to announce stepped-up enforcement measures to limit movement, including a curfew.

Over the weekend, Renault had said it was considering all options in response to the coronavirus threat, including hiring temporary workers, because some workers might need to stay home with children after France closed schools, the report said.

Asia Times Financial is now live. Linking accurate news, insightful analysis and local knowledge with the ATF China Bond 50 Index, the world's first benchmark cross sector Chinese Bond Indices. Read ATF now.