MILAN (Reuters) – Fiat Chrysler Chief Executive Mike Manley told employees that the carmaker would help with the production of masks during the coronavirus emergency, a union representative said on Monday.

Mask production would add to an ongoing effort by Fiat Chrysler (FCA) and rival carmaker Ferrari to find ways to help Italy boost production of healthcare equipment such as ventilators.

Manley said one of the group’s plants in Asia would be converted to produce face masks for healthcare workers and would reach a target of one million masks per month in coming weeks, UILM union representative Gianluca Ficco said, quoting a letter sent by the CEO to employees.

Fiat Chrysler was not immediately available for comments.

FCA and Ferrari, both controlled by Exor, the investment firm of Italy’s Agnelli family, are in talks with Siare Engineering, Italy’s biggest ventilator manufacturer, to help it double production of the life-saving machines which are urgently needed in the coronavirus crisis, company officials said last week.

FCA has temporarily halted most of its plants worldwide in response to the virus spread and a consequent plunge in global auto demand.

Ferrari has also suspended operations at its two facilities, both located in Italy.

“We need to use the current plants’ stoppage to equip ourselves with the necessary resources to face the emergency,” Ficco said, adding he hoped that other large companies might follow FCA’s example.

(Reporting by Giulio Piovaccari, editing by Giulia Segreti and Louise Heavens)

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