Autos

Ford, Fiat Chrysler ban non-essential domestic and international travel as coronavirus spreads

Key Points
  • Ford and Fiat Chrysler are banning all non-essential international and domestic business travel for employees due to the coronavirus outbreak.
  • The increased travel restrictions for Ford will be in effect until March 27.
  • Ford will revisit the travel bans regarding the COVID-19 epidemic on a weekly basis, while Fiat Chrysler actively monitors the situation.
Visitor walk past a Ford Escape Titanium at the Shanghai Auto Show in Shanghai on April 17, 2019.
Greg Baker| AFP | Getty Images

Ford Motor and Fiat Chrysler have banned all non-essential international and domestic business travel for employees due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Ford said Tuesday the increased travel restrictions will be in effect until March 27, while a spokesman for Fiat Chrysler said the company will continue to actively monitor the situation.

Ford, according to a company spokesman, will revisit the travel bans regarding the COVID-19 epidemic on a weekly basis.

"The health and safety of our employees, dealers, customers, and partners are always Ford's highest priority," the company said in an emailed statement to CNBC. "We have dedicated teams closely monitoring the coronavirus situation in China, including the latest directives and guidance from national and regional authorities, and across our supply chain. We are planning and acting accordingly."

Travel exceptions, according to Ford, will require senior leadership approvals and will be limited to instances that are "essential to Ford's operation, can only be completed by physically being present, and don't create an unacceptable health hazard."

Ford's previous travel restrictions only involved China, including prohibiting all business travel to, from and within the country. Ford employees who had traveled to Wuhan, the epicenter of the disease, as well as employees outside the country who had traveled to China, were instructed to self-quarantine for 14 days upon their returns.

Fiat Chrysler's increased travel restrictions went into effect late-last week, according to a company spokesman.

"We have requested that all travel be pre-approved by a member of our leadership team, including both domestic and international trips, and that travel be prioritized to essential needs only," the Italian-American automaker said in an emailed statement Tuesday to CNBC.

Fiat Chrysler previously had delayed all business travel to China until further notice.

The new restrictions from the Detroit automakers are in-line with some non-auto companies such as Amazon but greater than those of other automakers, including America's largest automaker, General Motors.

GM confirmed Monday that it had increased its travel bans to include South Korea, Italy and Japan in addition to China. A company spokesman on Tuesday said any non-domestic trips require the approval of senior leadership, however the company has not banned or limited domestic travel. 

"We are monitoring the situation closely and periodically updating company guidance regarding travel restrictions," the company said in an emailed statement.